New Delhi had refused to either push back or cancel this week's Buddhist conference
China has said that it is opposed to any country that “provides a platform” for the Dalai Lama and his “anti-China activities,” in the wake of India and China last week postponing the 15th round of border talks following Beijing's concerns over a Buddhist conference that was scheduled to take place at the same time in New Delhi.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the Dalai Lama, who will speak at the conference, was “not a purely religious figure.” The two countries postponed the boundary talks, which were to take place in New Delhi on November 28 and November 29, after New Delhi said it would not accede to Chinese demands to either push back or cancel this week's Buddhist conference.
Indian officials told their Chinese counterparts the meeting was religious and not political, but China has not accepted their view.
China views the exiled Tibetan religious leader as a “splittist,” who is campaigning for Tibetan independence. The Dalai Lama, however, says he does not seek independence in Tibet, and wants China to give Tibetans “genuine autonomy” in religious, cultural and educational spheres.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei on Monday did not specifically say if China had expressed its opposition to the Buddhism conference being held at the same time as the border talks, although he made clear China's opposition to India giving the Tibetan religious leader “a platform.”
“I want to point out that the Dalai Lama is not a purely religious figure but one who has been engaged in separatist activities for a long time, under the pretext of religion,” Mr. Hong said. “We oppose any country that provides a platform for his anti-China activities in any form.”
Indian and Chinese officials have, however, played down the postponement of the talks, maintaining that no dates had, in the first instance, been formally announced. Indian officials said they believed the talks would take place in “the near future.”
Mr. Hong said both sides were “in communication on relevant issues” regarding the border talks, and were also discussing the “specific agenda” of the meeting. China, he added, paid “great attention” to the next round of talks with India.