July 17, 2024

Explainer-Why did US lawmakers’ visit to India anger China?

Explainer-Why did US lawmakers’ visit to India anger China?

A group of US lawmakers met with the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan diaspora, in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala on Wednesday.

The meeting angered Beijing, which on Tuesday called on the US to “fully recognize the anti-China and separatist nature of the Dalai Group” and refrain from “any form of association with it”.

Why is the mission in India?

A bipartisan delegation of seven members of the US Congress has visited India to meet Nobel Peace Prize laureate the Dalai Lama.

The United States has long asserted the rights of the Tibetan people to practice their religion and culture, and has accused China of human rights abuses in the remote Himalayan region that borders India.

The bipartisan bill, passed by the US House of Representatives this month, aims to push Beijing with Tibetan leaders stalled since 2010 to reach a negotiated accord on Tibet and to pressure China to address Tibetan aspirations for historical, cultural, religious and linguistic identity. .

The delegation included two authors of legislation titled the “Tibet-China Dispute Act” or the “Settlement Tibet Act” and former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

The delegation also met representatives of the Tibetan government in exile working from India.

Who is the Dalai Lama?

Born Lamo Thondup in 1935, the Dalai Lama identified as the reincarnation of his predecessor at the age of two and was born the 14th in 1940 in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.

The Dalai Lama ascended the throne in 1940 in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Beijing occupied Tibet in 1950 and the Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Tibetan rule, where he lived in exile in the Himalayan city of Dharamsala.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

Why is the visit controversial?

He has angered China at a time when Beijing and Washington are struggling to improve their relationship. India’s relationship with China has also been strained since 2020 when 24 soldiers were killed in a military attack along the Himalayan border.

Although Washington considers the Tibet Autonomous Region part of China, US President Joe Biden is expected to soon sign the Tibet Settlement Act to resolve the dispute.

“This visit should underscore bipartisan support for the US Congress to have a say in shaping Tibet’s own future,” Michael McCall, head of the US delegation and one of the bill’s authors, said before departing Washington on Friday.

What are China’s objections?

China accuses the Dalai Lama of being a “separatist” or separatist, but says he wants real autonomy for his remote Himalayan homeland.

While Beijing has always resisted meetings with foreign heads of state, that hasn’t stopped the Dalai Lama from meeting with other US presidents, including US presidents, although Biden has yet to meet him.

However, the task of appointing his successor is a highly contentious issue.

While Beijing has said it has the right to appoint a successor to strengthen its control over Tibet, the Dalai Lama says only the Tibetan people can make that decision and that his successor can be found in India.