While it has always been known that talks between Chinese and US officials are not always cordial, the stormy nature of some of these meetings is revealed in cable written by US embassy in Beijing in October 2007.
The cable described the unusually aggressive and blunt feedback from the then Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi to US Ambassador Clark T. Randt after the award of the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama in the same month.
The cable also gives a rare insight into just how deep the Chinese antipathy towards the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama (under Indian asylum) is and how strongly it moves behind the scenes to isolate him.
“FM Yang expressed China’s “strong opposition and indignation” and “lodged China’s strong protest” to events surrounding the October 17 ceremony in Washington awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama…
“Despite China’s “solemn representations,” including, according to FM Yang, opposition expressed by President Hu during a meeting with President Bush at the APEC summit in Sydney in September, the United States still “insisted” on going forward with actions that “grossly interfere in China’s internal affairs” and “violate international norms.”
“The United States, Yang said, provided a platform for “anti-Chinese activities” and even “joined the (Dalai Lama’s) show.” China, FM Yang said, now “resolutely urges the United States to correct its mistake.”
“The United States, despite pledging recognition of Tibet as a part of China, has “connived” with the Dalai Lama to support Tibetan separatism “under the cloak of religion.” The United States says that it wants to improve bilateral affairs with China but through its interference in China’s internal affairs has instead “undermined China’s core interests.”
“FM Yang said that the United States has encouraged the separatist cause by “lavishing praise” on the Dalai Lama. Tibet is a “sacred and inalienable” part of China and “Tibetan affairs are China’s internal affairs.” China opposes any effort to “use the Tibet issue” to interfere in its internal affairs.
“FM Yang said that the United States has “aroused the anger of 1.3 billion Chinese,” who remain firm in their insistence on respect for China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese people, Yang said, understand clearly that the United States’ actions signify support for the Dalai Lama’s separatist activities and thus constitute U.S. efforts to “undermine the rights, liberty and territorial integrity of China.”
“The Chinese people are asking, he said, “what are you up to?” FM Yang claimed that the United States seeks to use religious freedom and human rights issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs, and has been “doing these tricks for decades.” The Chinese people enjoy full religious freedom under the law; they do not need U.S. “preaching.”
Yang also dismissed the theory that Dalai Lama, who heads the exiled Tibetan government from Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh in India, has abandoned the call for Tibetan freedom from China.
“FM Yang said that the Dalai Lama’s activities since fleeing China, including establishing a government-in-exile and the People’s Assembly of Tibet, demonstrate that he seeks independence for all of “Greater Tibet,” including the Tibet Autonomous Region and parts of Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces.
“The United States, Yang said, knows that the Dalai Lama actually represents a return to the “dark and cruel” feudal system of the “old Tibet,” which was “worse than medieval Europe.”
“Yang dismissed the Dalai Lama’s statements abandoning the goal of Tibetan independence as a ruse for “gaining international support.” Yang said that Chinese citizens do not view the Dalai Lama as a religious leader but as “the mastermind behind separatist sabotage” and the “personification of evil and deception,” whose efforts are “doomed to failure.”
“FM Yang said the Dalai Lama must abandon his quest for Tibetan independence, cease “splittist activities,” publicly state that Tibet is a part of China and recognize that Taiwan is a part of China. Only then will China talk to the Dalai Lama about “his personal future.”
“The Dalai Lama must also recognize the socialist system and the ethnic autonomy that is practiced in Tibet. The United States risks “ruining” its relationship with China as a result of an “ideology that blinds your eyes and arrogance and prejudice that cover your ears.”
Compared to the Chinese outburst, the response from the US ambassador was considerably measured.
“As President Bush told President Hu during their meeting in Sydney, the Ambassador reminded Yang, China’s concerns about the Dalai Lama will be alleviated if China engages in direct discussion with the Dalai Lama,” Randt told Yang, adding that neither the US nor the Lama wanted Tibet to secede from China.
The 14th Dalai Lama has been given protection and asylum by the Indian government since the 1959 failed Tibetan uprising against the Chinese. Though initially struggling for total independence of Tibet from China, some of the top exiled Tibetan leaders now merely want the freedom to carry on their religion, rather than total independence.
Tibetans have also settled in many places in India, including at Kushal Nagar in South India, a small-town near Bangalore.