Colombo: While sending positive news on restructuring of Sri Lanka’s debts, China has strongly opposed the news of the “sneaky” visit of the Dalai Lama to the predominantly Buddhist country.
A top level delegation from the Chinese Embassy in Colombo met the head monk of one of the influential Buddhist chapters in the country and told him that China strongly opposes any foreign country receiving the Tibetan spiritual leader, who is exiled in India.
China’s Charge d’Affaires Hu Wei, who visited Most Venerable Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thero, the chief prelate of the Malwathu chapter, told him that China strongly opposed the 14th Dalai Lama’s intention to visit Sri Lanka.
“The government and people of China including in the Tibet Autonomous Region strongly oppose any foreign country to receive the Dalai Lama in any name, because the 14th Dalai Lama is absolutely not a ‘simple monk’ as he self-claims, but the head of the feudal serfdom and the theocracy in Tibet prior to 1951, a political exile disguised as a religious figure who has long been engaging in anti-China separatist activities and attempting to split Tibet from China,” a Chinese Embassy statement, quoting Hu, said.
“Hu emphasised that China and Sri Lanka have been firmly supporting each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests, including the Tibet related issue. Both sides especially the Buddhist communities must prevent a sneaky visit of the Dalai Lama to the island to promote ‘Tibetan independence’ and safeguard the China-Sri Lanka historical relations from being damaged,” it added.
“Commenting on the rumour of several monks inviting Dalai Lama to visit the island, the Chief Prelate stressed that China is the closest friend of Sri Lanka. Our relations with China must not be hurt. It is better that government also understand the importance of contribution rendered by China for the upliftment of Sri Lankan economy,” the Chinese Embassy release stated.
A group of senior Buddhist monks including the Chief Prelate of another Buddhist Chapter, Ramanna, Most Ven Makulewe Wimala Mahanayake Thero who had met the Dalai Lama at India’s Bodh Gaya on December 27, has invited him to visit Sri Lanka.
“I believe like His Holiness has been to Bodh Gaya. If he goes to Sri Lanka, many thousands of tourists will come to Sri Lanka which will boost the economy because we are in a crisis situation. And, if His Holiness goes to Sri Lanka, many tourists will come here similar to Bodh Gaya. We will be blessed and the economy will also be boosted,” Most Venerable Waskaduwe Mahindawansa Mahanayake Thero, one of the senior Sri Lankan Buddhist monks who met the Dalai Lama, was quoted as saying.
Awaiting the $2.9 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to relieve its crisis-hit economy, the Sri Lanka President on Tuesday announced that the discussion with China and India on debt restricting, one of the main prerequisite to obtain IMF assistance was “successful”.
By Susitha Fernando