China’s Panicked Reaction to Sri Lanka’s Invitation to the Dalai Lama – The Diplomat read full article at

The Chinese language authorities’s slightly extreme response to an invite prolonged by Sri Lankan Buddhist monks to the Dalai Lama to go to the island underscores but once more Beijing’s deep insecurities vis-à-vis the Tibetan chief. The incident additionally lays naked the open arm-twisting China indulges in with small international locations to get them to toe its line.

Based on reports, a bunch of senior Sri Lankan Buddhist monks who attended the Dalai Lama’s public sermon at Bodh Gaya in India on December 29-31 expressed curiosity within the non secular chief visiting Sri Lanka.

The monks’ invitation to the Dalai Lama was reported within the Sri Lankan media. Earlier than lengthy, Chinese language diplomats stationed in Colombo headed off to Kandy within the central highlands, the place the Chargé d’Affaires of the Chinese language Embassy in Colombo Hu Wei met the Mahanayake Thero of the Malwathu Chapter of the Siam Nikaya (a Buddhist monastic order), the Most Venerable Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thero.

Based on a press release from the Chinese language embassy, in the midst of his “friendly conversation” with the monks Hu informed them that the Dalai Lama “is not a ‘simple monk’ as he claims, but a ‘separatist’,” and a “political exile disguised as a religious figure who has long been engaging in anti-China separatist activities and attempting to split Tibet from China.”

Reminding the monks of “China’s firm support” to Sri Lanka, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the present financial disaster, Hu stated that “both sides especially the Buddhist communities must prevent a sneaky visit of the Dalai Lama to the island to promote ‘Tibetan independence’.”

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This was essential to “safeguard the China-Sri Lanka historical relations from being damaged,” Hu stated.

The message was clear. China’s relations with debt-trapped and dependent Sri Lanka can be “damaged” if the invitation to the Dalai Lama to go to Sri Lanka was not withdrawn.

In the meantime, an official of the Tibetan government-in-exile stated that the Dalai Lama didn’t intend to go to Sri Lanka. “At the moment, the Dalai Lama has no plans to visit Sri Lanka,” he informed The Federal.

The Dalai Lama’s visits to international locations the world over set off objections from the Chinese language authorities. Within the case of India, the place the Dalai Lama lives, his visits to Arunachal Pradesh in India’s Northeast, the place China claims territory, have by no means did not raise hackles in Beijing.

China punishes international locations that welcome the Dalai Lama. In November 2016, when the Tibetan chief visited Mongolia, a Buddhist nation the place he’s deeply revered, Beijing retaliated by imposing an economic blockade towards the landlocked nation.

China has pressured Sri Lanka on Dalai Lama-related points prior to now as properly.

In December 2017, the Chinese language embassy in Colombo reportedly pressured the administration of Irida Lankadeepa, a Sinhalese newspaper, to cease the serialization of the Dalai Lama’s autobiography, “My Land and My People.” When the Sri Lankan Tibetan Buddhist Brotherhood Society organized picture exhibitions of the Dalai Lama, the Chinese language embassy complained to the Prison Investigations Division to probe the Society’s actions, Damenda Porage, its president, stated.

China has objected to invites to the Dalai Lama to go to the island prior to now as properly.

In 2015, months after a strongly pro-China authorities in Sri Lanka was defeated in elections, senior Sri Lankan monks throughout a gathering with the Dalai Lama in New Delhi “expressed a unanimous wish, shared by a large number of people in Sri Lanka, to see the Dalai Lama visit their country,” Tibetan Overview reported.

“They can invite, but the government may not grant a visa,” a high official of the Sri Lankan overseas ministry informed Reuters, including that whereas “the Dalai Lama is very important,” Sri Lanka’s “close relationship with China is more important.”

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“The Dalai Lama would be happy to visit but does not want to cause any inconvenience to the Sri Lankan government,” a senior aide of the Tibetan chief informed Reuters amid the controversy in 2015.

The Dalai Lama didn’t go to the island in 2015, and the Chinese language authorities lauded Sri Lanka for not offering “venues of connivance” to the Tibetan chief.

In 2015, Sri Lanka had already collected huge money owed owed to China and was closely depending on it. However the state of affairs it’s in in the present day is much worse; the nation is within the grip of its worst financial disaster since its independence in 1948. Not solely does it owe China billions of {dollars} but in addition, with out Chinese language assist for its restructuring program, the IMF won’t unlock its promised $2.9 billion mortgage to Sri Lanka to assist in its financial restoration.

Beneath the circumstances, it’s unlikely that the Sri Lankan authorities would have risked Chinese language ire by permitting the Dalai Lama to go to. Thus, there was no want for the Chinese language cost d’affaires in Colombo to hurry to Kandy to fulfill the highest prelate of the Malwathu Chapter of the Siam Nikaya.

In reality, even a cellphone name to the Sri Lankan overseas ministry warning towards the Dalai Lama’s go to was pointless. In spite of everything, Sri Lanka is aware of the implications.

But so deep are Chinese language insecurities over the Dalai Lama and his recognition that it was unwilling to take an opportunity. Therefore, the warning wrapped within the “friendly conversation” with the senior monks at Kandy.

#asiannews #asian_news

About Sudha Ramachandran

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