February 26, 2016
A government-backed website in China focused on Tibet has criticised Chinese celebrities after they were pictured at a Buddhist assembly with aides working for the Dalai Lama.
Singer Faye Wong and actors Tony Leung and Hu Jun were photographed at the gathering in India with the Tibetan spiritual leader’s staff, Tibet.cn reported.
China’s government considers the Dalai a separatist intent on splitting the nation. He denies the allegation and says he merely wants greater autonomy for Tibet within China.
A commentary on the website said many Western film stars had been criticised for their support for the Dalai Lama and Chinese celebrities should have learned the lesson.
“Why do Faye Wong and Tony Leung still sit together with them knowing they are the heads of separatist forces? What on earth are they doing?” the article said.
Hu has issued a statement on his social media account saying he was unaware there were “separatist forces” in the crowd.
“I don’t know any separatists. I was only in a religious gathering praying for blessings. As a Chinese, I am against any comments and actions that aim to separate the county!” he wrote.
The commentary admitted celebrities have “religious freedom”, but described Faye Wong as “a spokesperson for India’s pilgrimage tourism” as she has visited the country to worship many times.
It said celebrities should be more cautious in their religious activities as “mingling with separatist forces” was beyond the limits of religious freedom.
It also criticised celebrities it alleged supported separatism and named the Hong Kong actors Anthony Wong and Chapman To, plus the Taiwanese singers A-Mei and Chou Tzu-Yu.
Film star Jet Li was accused two years ago of funding Dalai Lama’s “separatist forces” after he and his wife had a photograph taken with the Dalai Lama. His lawyer denied the allegation.
The commentary said many Western countries’ leaders, including David Cameron in the UK, Angela Merkel in Germany and Francois Hollande in France, had all “closed the door” on the Dalai Lama.
(Li Jing, South China Morning Post)