China expresses concern over meeting of Indian parliamentarians with Tibetan MPs

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMHALA, January 1: The Chinese Embassy in New Delhi sent an official letter of “concern” to Indian parliamentarians for their public association with representatives of the 17e Tibetan Parliament in exile on December 22. The “unusually worded letter”, according to media reports, drew a strong reaction from Indian politicians on Friday. The reception hosted by representatives of the TPiE welcomed at least six members of the Indian parliament crossing party lines to defend the Tibetan movement.

Embassy political adviser Zhou Yongsheng wrote to Indian leaders, “You are a senior politician who is familiar with Sino-Indian relations. We hope you can understand the sensitivity of the issue and refrain from supporting the forces of “Tibetan independence” and make contributions to Sino-Indian bilateral relations. Citing India’s one-China policy, Zhou added that the CCP strongly opposes any anti-China separatist activity and urged the Indian government to refrain from interacting with members of the “so-called” Tibetan government in exile ”.

The spokesperson for the CTA of the DIIR, Tenzin Lekshay responded to the contents of the letter sent by the Chinese Embassy: “[In the letter] they said that the Tibetan Central Administration is an illegal entity, which is not true. We have had our round of several negotiations with the Chinese leadership. And we are not a separatist group either; our policy is the Middle Way Approach, which is not about separation, but about achieving the aspirations of the people within the framework of the Chinese constitution. This is something we have to be very clear about. “

The new head of APIPFT, Sujeet Kumar, told reporters after the development: “I personally treat the letter with the contempt it deserves. This is not the first time that the embassy has written to me, it has written to me several times. The embassy has no locus standi to write to an Indian parliamentarian. If there was a problem, he could have written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He violated protocol.

However, Kumar, member of the Biju Janata Dal party, also said that it was not a political engagement with Tibetan MPs, but rather aimed at promoting cultural and commercial ties. “We have not met with the Tibetan government in exile on behalf of the Foreign Ministry or the Indian government. . . Our meeting aimed to promote cultural and commercial ties between India and Tibet, ”he said.

Another forum member, MP Manish Tewari, said he had not received any letters: “I have not received any letters and I will not demean or demean myself by replying to such foolish missives. . Had [Chinese Foreign Minister] Wang Yi wrote, maybe I would have considered responding. The Indian All-Party Parliamentary Forum for Tibet, formerly established in 1970, was revived through lobbying of several Indian politicians last week.

James C. Tibbs