China said on Wednesday that the Dalai Lama should “give up” attempts to divide the country and asked him to come back on the “right track” as the Tibetan spiritual leader turned 81.
“Dalai Lama has been engaging in separatist activities,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media conference in Beijing 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.
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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.
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 Dharamshala in India.