The Chinese Foreign Ministry has asked the U.S to stay away from it’s internal matters after the U.S. Congress presented Dalai Lama the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, an award, which was in honor of the late U.S. human rights activist Tom Lantos, on Tuesday.
“We urge some members of the U.S. Congress to respect the history and the facts, recognize the true face of Dalai Lama, stop using the Tibet issue to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement posted on the ministry’s Web site.
President Obama is already facing severe criticism from several quarters after he earlier skipped a meeting with the Tibetan leader. Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation called China’s criticism unwarranted and commended Congress members for supporting the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama and Obama will not meet until after Obama visits Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing in November of this year.
Meanwhile Dalai Lama wrote a letter congratulating the U.S President on receiving the Nobel prize which was presented to Dalai Lama in 1989 calling Obama to champion “freedom and liberty“.
“I have maintained that the founding fathers of the United States have made this country the greatest democracy and a champion of freedom and liberty,” the Dalai Lama wrote.
Obama administration is seeking Chinese support for pressing with its foreign policy, economic and environmental goals and thus needs to balance efforts to establish friendly ties with China with the desire to support the Dalai Lama, who has called for more autonomy for Tibetans. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House, on the other hand said at the ceremony that “unless we speak out for human rights in China and in Tibet, we lose all moral authority to talk about human rights anywhere in the world.”
China claims Tibet to be part of its territory for four centuries, and it has aggressively governed the Himalayan region since communist troops took control there in 1951. The Tibetans on the other hand say that they had been effectively independent for most part of their history and Chinese rule and economic exploitation are eroding their traditional Buddhist culture.
“The Dalai Lama is one of the most highly honored peacemakers of all time, and we are proud to present His Holiness the Dalai Lama with the inaugural Lantos Human Rights Prize,” Swett said in a statement. “We can only hope that this award brings into public light the continuing human rights violations in Tibet, so that they can be addressed.”
China has often pushed its demand of other nations to stay away from intervening in matters of Tibet claiming it to be a Chinese internal matter.