China’s top Tibetan official said yesterday “the door was open” for the return of the exiled Dalai Lama, but repeated its charge that the spiritual leader was a separatist bent on Tibetan independence.
In China’s first high-level comment since the Dalai Lama retired in March as head of Tibet’s government-in-exile, Xizang Autonomous Regional Government Chairman Padma Choling (白瑪赤林) said the spiritual figure was welcome to return to Tibet as long as he ended his separatist activities.
“If he wants to come back, the door to China is always open,” Choling, Tibet’s highest-ranking official, told reporters. “If the Dalai Lama really does retire as he says he has, if he stops his separatist activities, stops disrupting the stability of Tibet and really concentrates on Buddhism, then this will be good for Tibet.”
“The key is if he really gives up Tibetan independence,” Choling said.
China has made similar statements before, but Tibet-watchers believe Beijing will not allow his return because of its potential for causing political instability in tense Tibet.
China has for years insisted that the Dalai Lama wants to establish an independent Tibet, charges the 1989 Nobel laureate has long denied, saying he only seeks “meaningful” autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.
Following his March retirement, Tibetan exiles elected Harvard academic Lobsang Sangay, 43, as their new prime minister, handing him the daunting task of assuming the political duties of the Dalai Lama, a global icon.
Beijing has long been seen as playing a waiting game, believing that the Tibetan exile movement will splinter and collapse after the eventual death of the 75-year-old Buddhist monk.
Choling, who was speaking on the 60th anniversary of China’s “peaceful liberation of Tibet,” further accused the Dalai Lama of seeking to restore the Tibetan theocracy that existed for centuries before China’s 1951 takeover.
“Since he went into exile in 1959, he has never done anything good for Tibet. Everything he has done since he left is to struggle for the restoration of feudal serfdom,” he said.
He further reiterated Beijing’s stance that the exiled Tibetan government was “an illegal organization,” and said any future negotiations on the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet would be with the Buddhist leader and not the exiled government.
TACIT APPROVAL: While the mainland sticks to its ‘zero COVID’ policy, the Chinese leadership appears to back Hong Kong’s shift to home health monitoring Hong Kong wants to ease COVID-19 rules like mandatory hotel quarantine that have made travel difficult for nearly three years, Chief Executive John Lee (李家超) said yesterday, as mainland Chinese officials signaled their approval. The number of infections in Hong Kong has fallen to about 6,000 a day, creating room to reconsider the measures that have crimped the territory’s competitiveness, Lee told reporters at a weekly briefing. Hotel quarantine will be replaced with seven days of home health monitoring, the South China Morning Post reported, though it said the change would not be announced until all the details have been determined. The
UNREST: Images posted online showed women removing their headscarves in defiance of religious law, with some even setting them on fire or symbolically cutting their hair Protests spread to 15 cities across Iran overnight over the death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the country’s “morality police,” state media reported yesterday, adding that four police officers were injured and one “police assistant” died from injuries on Tuesday in the southern city of Shiraz. In the fifth night of street rallies, police used tear gas and made arrests to disperse crowds of up to 1,000 people, the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said. Demonstrators blockaded streets, hurled stones at security forces, set fire to police vehicles and garbage bins, and chanted anti-government slogans, it added. “On Tuesday evening,
Ukraine is now deploying captured Russian tanks to solidify its gains in the northeast amid an ongoing counteroffensive, a Washington-based think tank said yesterday, as Kyiv vowed to push further into territories occupied by Moscow. The Institute for the Study of War, citing a Russian claim, said that Ukraine had been using left-behind Russian T-72 tanks as it tries to push into the Russian-occupied region of Luhansk. “The initial panic of the counteroffensive led Russian troops to abandon higher-quality equipment in working order, rather than the more damaged equipment left behind by Russian forces retreating from Kyiv in April, further indicating
Most people packed up and left the remote North Macedonian village of Babino years ago, but Stevo Stepanovski and his remarkable collection of 20,000 books stayed put in his almost abandoned valley. The library began with Stepanovski’s great-grandfather who was given his first tranche of books by passing Ottoman soldiers in the late 19th century. Along with history books and novels in the Macedonian language, there are tomes in Farsi, Arabic and Turkish along with a whole host of books in Serbo-Croat, the main language of the old Yugoslavia of which the village was once a part. The library is home to original