China’s official media today warned India against using the Dalai Lama “card”, saying New Delhi should stop behaving like a “spoilt kid” and learn lessons from how China handled Donald Trump after the US President-elect challenged ‘One-China’ policy.
“Sometimes, India behaves like a spoilt kid, carried away by the lofty crown of being ‘the biggest democracy in the world.’ India has the potential to be a great nation, but the country’s vision is shortsighted,” an article in the state-run Global Times said.
It said India “should draw some lessons from the recent interactions between Beijing and Trump over Taiwan.”
“After putting out feelers to test China’s determination to protect its essential interests, Trump has met China’s restrained but pertinent countermeasures, and must have understood that China’s bottom line – sovereign integrity and national unity – is untouchable,” the paper said.
While the article did not elaborate on counter measures, China besides protesting to Trump over his phone call to the Taiwanese President and his comments questioning One-China policy, also seized an “unmanned underwater vehicle” in the disputed South China Sea, the first such incident in the area.
The drone was returned subsequently after protests from US and Trump, an incident seen as an attempt by China to flex its muscles ahead of the President-elect taking over office next month.
The current Qinghai-Tibet line runs from Xining, Qinghai Province, to Lhasa, the administrative capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR). An extension has been discussed since 2008 — with a 253 kilometer stretch to Tibet’s second city Xigaze completed in 2014 — but no previous plans had included a tunnel.
“A proposed extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to the China-Nepal border through Tibet would boost bilateral trade and tourism as there is currently no rail line linking the two countries,” the state-run newspaper China Daily reported on Thursday.
The 540-km link to Nepal would provide quick access to the Indian markets, and perhaps is an attempt to involve Nepal in the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar project in which India’s interest has recently waned
China called on US President Barack Obama to immediately cancel a planned meetingwith the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, and warned the meeting would “severely impair” Sino-US relations if it goes ahead.
Mr Obama is scheduled to welcome the exiled septuagenarian Tibetan leader at 10am Washington time on Friday and will spend just over an hour with him in the White House Map Room.
Beijing regards the Dalai Lama as a political exile and a violent anti-China separatist and regularly imposes various sanctions and punishments on governments who meet him publicly.
A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday:
By arranging a meeting between the President and the Dalai Lama, the US side will grossly interfere in the internal affairs of China, seriously violate norms governing international relations and severely impair China-US relations.
The US President’s decision to meet the Dalai Lama is a show of concern for China’s human rights record but also appears aimed at warning Beijing it does not have the right to dictate who leaders of other countries can meet.
China aims to stamp out the voice of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in his restive and remote homeland by ensuring that his “propaganda” is not received by anyone on the internet, television or other means, a top official said.
China has tried, with varying degrees of success, to prevent Tibetans listening to or watching programmes broadcast from outside the country, or accessing any information about the Dalai Lama and the exiled government on the internet.
But many Tibetans are still able to access such news, either via illegal satellite televisions or by skirting Chinese internet restrictions. The Dalai Lama’s picture and his teachings are also smuggled into Tibet, at great personal risk.
Writing in the ruling Communist Party’s influential journal Qiushi, the latest issue of which was received by subscribers on Saturday, Tibet’s party chief Chen Quanguo said that the government would ensure only its voice is heard.
“Strike hard against the reactionary propaganda of the splittists from entering Tibet,” Chen wrote in the magazine, whose name means “seeking truth”.