Tibetan separatist leader’s visit aims to serve multi US purposes

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By Lu Yuanzhi Source: Global Times

Aerial photo taken on September 19 shows a buddhist temple at Dengqen County in Qamdo City, Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. File photo: Xinhua

Lobsang Sangay, head of the so-called “Tibetan government-in-exile”, visited the White House on Friday. He said he met with the US “special coordinator for Tibetan issues” Robert Destro.

The so-called “Tibetan government-in-exile” is a separatist political organization seeking to achieve “Tibetan independence.”

Even though it was the first time the head of the “Tibetan government-in-exile” paid a visit to the White House in six decades, given his much lower international influence, Sangay’s visit to the White House would be less influential than the Dalai Lama’s. Washington primarily hopes to show the US’ support for the “Tibetan government-in-exile” and hopes to signal that it wants to be more proactively involved in Tibet-related issues.

The Tibet question concerns China’s core national interests. Washington’s arrangement of the meeting is a grave interference in China’s internal affairs and undermines China’s national interests. In recent days, the US has significantly ramped up its meddling with China’s internal affairs. For example, it is reported that the cabinet-level head of the US Environmental Protection Agency Andrew Wheeler will visit the island of Taiwan in December, the third visit by a senior US official since August. The US and its Five Eyes allies groundlessly accuse China’s top legislative organ’s disqualification of members of the Hong Kong Legislative Council of being “part of a campaign to silence critics.”

These moves are doomed to be in vain. China’s internal affairs will not tolerate any interference from any other country. Beijing has the determination and capability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

It is noticeable that news of the meeting was released by the “Tibetan government-in-exile.” As of press time, there has been no official narrative from the White House on the meeting. The Trump administration may be observing China’s response, in order to plan what to do next. Given that there are many anti-China politicians in the Trump administration, Washington will not play down the visit and will hype it up at some time.

The meeting can be seen as a new step taken by the Trump administration to stir trouble with China during the transition period. There have been many signs that the Trump administration will continue to take some extreme measures to jeopardize China-US relations. The Trump administration intends to create as many obstacles as possible for the next administration to shape the latter’s China policy. The Tibet question is one of them.

Many scholars from the international community believe there should be no blind optimism about the incoming administration of Democratic candidate Joe Biden. After all, the two parties are on the same page in terms of their China policy. It is expected that the Biden administration will continue the basic notion of the Trump administration when it comes to the Tibet question.

Furthermore, as Democrats tend to underline the significance of so-called human rights and values, the Biden administration will raise the weight of human rights and ideology in its China policy. After Biden takes office, issues related to Tibet, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Hong Kong are expected to become pivotal on the agenda to deal with China.

Former US president Barack Obama hosted the Dalai Lama four times at the White House. As almost all Biden’s advisors on China policies come from the Obama administration, the possibility that the Biden administration will take more aggressive moves on Tibet cannot be ruled out. China should remain vigilant toward that.

Apart from diplomatically expressing the firm opposition against the US’ meddling with China’s internal affairs, China should also proactively demonstrate to the outside world the progress it has made in Xinjiang, Tibet and other regions over these years, make the international community aware of the real situation and development in these regions, and invite more foreign people to pay a visit there. The malicious slander from the US and some Western countries will be broken up by the facts.

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