As ‘FREE Tibet’ groups across the world pull all stops to see that China’s bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics is denied (results of the bid will be out end of this month), a top Chinese government arm in Beijing cited the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday celebrations in the United States on Monday as proof of “external factors” teaming up with the spiritual leader to undermine China and its development agenda in Tibet.
“After celebrating his birthday on June 21 as per the Tibetan calendar in India, the Dalai Lama is celebrating it for the second time in the US on July 6. In Tibetan Buddhism, birthdays are not given much attention. Yet, he is celebrating it for the second time in a year in the US. You can see clearly the influence of external factors,” Lu Guangjin, director of the Human Rights Bureau of State Council Information Office (SCIO) said on Sunday.
Apart from their timing, the comments assume significance as SCIO is the the administrative office under the State Council, the chief administrative body of the People’s Republic of China. It is the chief information office of the Chinese government.
“Look at the US, the most powerful country in the world. One-hundred years ago, the US said Tibet is a part of China. Today also it says that but still supports Tibet’s Independence,” he said.
On July 31, the International Olympic Committee will decide the fate of China’s bid for the event. If it succeeds, Beijing it will be the first city ever to host both the Summer and the Winter Olympics. Naturally the government, having made a strong pitch for it, is attaching great value to the outcome.
Tibet Independence groups have been pressuring the International Olympics Committee to deny China’s bid alleging gross human rights violations in Tibet. About three months ago, a coalition of 175 such organisations presented what it claimed to be authentic report on China’s purported human rights violations in Tibet.
“During the Olympics in 2008, Tibet Independence groups attempted to disrupt the relay of the Olympic torch in places like Paris… Pictures were published with ulterior motives showing so called clashes between the armed police and people in Tibet. But later it turned out that such pictures were not from Tibet but from other countries,” he said. “There are political intentions behind this (maligning China). They hurt the sentiments of the Chinese people at home and overseas.”
In April this year, a month after Tibet independence groups upped their pressure on the OIC, China, through its SCIO, published a White Paper on Tibet titled ‘Tibet’s Path of Development Is Driven by an Irresistible Historical Tide.’ In that, it said: “The central government hopes that the Dalai Lama will put aside his illusions and in his remaining years and face up to reality, adapt his position, choose the objective and rational path, and do something of benefit to overseas Tibetan compatriots in exile.”