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Posted at: Jul 16, 2017, 12:26 AM; last updated: Jul 16, 2017, 12:26 AM (IST)

China opposes Dalai Lama’s Botswana visit

China opposes Dalai Lama’s Botswana visit
Dalai Lama

Lalit Mohan

Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, July 15

The Chinese government has opposed the proposed visit of the Dalai Lama to Botswana. The Tibetan spiritual leader is scheduled to visit the African country from August 17 to 19 to deliver a public talk. The talk is organised by Mind and Life Institute and is to be held at the University of Botswana.

Sources here said the Chinese authorities had warned Botswana over the scheduled visit of the Dalai Lama and advised that its administration could ‘correct’ its decision of hosting the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said, “We hope the relevant country can clearly recognise the essence of who the Dalai Lama is, earnestly respect China’s core concerns, and make the correct decision on this issue.”

The spokesperson also accused the Dalai Lama of using his position as a spiritual leader to engage in “separatist activities”.

Ian Khama, President of Botswana, is scheduled to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader and his administration confirmed that they would extend the normal courtesies for the visiting dignitaries.

It was not for the first time that China had opposed foreign visits of the Dalai Lama. Earlier, China had blocked the visit of the Dalai Lama to South Africa. The Dalai Lama was denied visa to attend the 14th world summit of Nobel peace laureates in 2014 in South Africa and consequently the summit was cancelled. The denial of visa also drew strong criticism from archbishop Desmond Tutu and others. It has also blocked the scheduled address of the Dalai Lama to the Australian parliament.

Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama today expressed his condolences over the death of fellow Nobel laureate and Chinese human rights advocate Liu Xiaobo at the age of 61.

“I am deeply saddened to learn that fellow Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo has died while undergoing a lengthy prison sentence. I offer my prayers and condolences to his wife, Liu Xia, and other members of his family,” said the Dalai Lama in a statement.

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