‘Definitely damage our relations’: Chinese government warns Australia PM never to meet Dalai Lama

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Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, center in yellow robes, returns after teachings at the Thupsung Dhargyeling Monastery in Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh, India, Thursday, April 6, 2017. The Dalai Lama consecrated the Buddhist monastery on Thursday in India's remote northeast, amid Chinese warnings that the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader's visit to the disputed border region would damage bilateral relations with India. (AP Photo/ Tenzin Choejor)

Chinese-Tibetan delegation in Canberra to promote the Tibet Autonomous Region sounds a warning to the Turnbull government.

The Chinese government has sounded a warning to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over any potential meetings with the Dalai Lama.

A delegation of Tibetan people and experts visited Canberra on Monday to promote the Tibet Autonomous Region and a dialogue with Australia.

When asked whether a potential visit between the Dalai Lama and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would harm relations with China, one official said it would.

“He [the Dalai Lama] has been leading separatist activities against China since his exile so this is not acceptable to us,” Wang Yanwen of the State Council Information Office said.

“It would definitely damage our relations.”

The Council is one of the Chinese government’s chief sources of promoting China and its policy stances.

It said Australia should take an “impartial and objective and fair attitude” in deciding how it approaches the contentious issue of China-Tibet relations.

“I have confidence in the Australian government doing things that help to grow our ties rather than being misled and support[ing] activities that seek to separate China,” Ms Wang said.

“What we hope is to make real good friends with Australia, to help each other and deliver mutual benefits, rather than talking friendly on the surface while doing bad things behind each others’ back.”

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama fled his homeland in 1959 after the failed Tibetan Uprising. He has been living in exile ever since.

The Chinese Communist Party maintains Tibet has long been a part of China, while critics say the region is occupied.

According to Human Rights Watch, Tibetans “continue to face routine denial of basic freedoms of speech, assembly, and movement” last year.

Prime Minister Turnbull’s office has been contacted for comment.

By Myles Morgan
SBS News

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