China has written to diplomats and United Nations officials urging them not to attend a Geneva event where the Dalai Lama will speak, reasserting that it opposes his appearance at all venues due to his “separatist activities”.
In a letter seen by Reuters on Thursday, China’s diplomatic mission in Geneva raised objections about the presence of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader on the panel of Nobel laureates, being held at the Geneva Graduate Institute on Friday.
“Inviting the 14th Dalai Lama to the aforementioned event violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China, in contravention of the purposes and principles of the UN
Charter. China resolutely opposes the 14th Dalai Lama’s separatist activities in whatever capacity and in whatever name in any country, organisation or event,” it said.
The letter was dated March 8, the day that the event – being sponsored by the United States and Canada – was announced.
“The Permanent Mission of China kindly requests the Permanent Missions of all Member States, UN agencies and relevant International Organisations not to attend the above-mentioned event, nor meet the 14th Dalai Lama and his clique.”
The Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace Price in 1989, fled into exile in India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Communist rule. China views him as a separatist, but the monk says he only wants genuine autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.
No delegation is making a formal complaint about China at the four-week session but there has been criticism recently of its mass arrests of lawyers, including from the United States.
A joint statement critical of China, sponsored by about a dozen countries including the United States, is to be read out at the forum on Thursday.