BEIJING: China today asked the Dalai Lama to give up his bid to divide the country and said it was “never too late” return to the “right track” as the Tibetan spiritual leader turned 81.
“Dalai Lama has been engaging separates activities,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media conference here reacting to Dalai Lama’s comments advocating “middle path” policy of providing more autonomy to Tibet as a solution to the Tibetan issue.
“We hope that the Dalai Lama can give up his attempt to divide China and it is never too late for him to come back to the right track,” Hong said.
The Chinese government, which in the past held talks with the Dalai Lama representatives views the autonomy demand as a ploy for separation.
Chinese officials in the recent past have said that the Dalai Lama’s demand to unify all the Tibetan prefectures with the Tibetan Autonomous Region and provide greater autonomy is unacceptable to Beijing.
There were no talks between the two sides in the last few years.
The Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in Dharamsala since a failed 1959 uprising in Tibet, has called for more Tibetan autonomy rather than independence.
China maintains he is a “wolf in monk’s clothing” and is against foreign leaders meeting him in any form.
When President Xi Jinping took over power in 2013, the Tibetan spiritual leader recalled his association with Xi’s family and hoped that the dialogue would be resumed.
Over 120 Tibetans committed self immolations in recent years calling for the return of the Dalai Lama from his exile in India.
Born on July 6, 1935 in Taktser, China, the 14th Dalai Lama, is one of the longest serving Dalai Lama’s of the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.–PTI