China dismisses Dalai Lama’s Wutai Shan pilgrimage wish

DHARAMSALA, Oct 9: Maintaining its hard line stance, China on Wednesday dismissed Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s desire to undertake pilgrimage to Wutai Shan, a sacred mountain in northern China considered sacred by Buddhists in Tibet and China alike.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said the 79-yr-old Tibetan leader should instead give up “separatist” activities against China.

“Our policy on the 14th Dalai Lama is consistent and clear. Instead of talking about returning to Tibet, he should genuinely give up his attempt to split China and stop undertaking separatist activities. That is what he should do right now, and only that will be helpful to his personal future,” Hong Lei told a media briefing.

Hong’s comment follows a recent interview given by the Tibetan leader to AFP during celebrations in Dharamsala to mark 25 years since he won the Nobel peace prize in which he indicated that he had “made clear” his desire to undertake the pilgrimage to a sacred mountain to contacts in China, including retired Communist Party officials.

“Some Chinese officials, for example the deputy party secretary in the autonomous region of Tibet, he also mentioned the possibility of my visit,” AFP quoted him as saying.

“It’s not finalised, not yet, but the idea is there,” he had added in the same interview.


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