China has urged diplomats and United Nations officials not to attend an event in Geneva where the Dalai Lama is scheduled to speak on Friday, Reuters reported.
Reiterating its opposition to Tibet’s spiritual leader due to his “separatist activities”, Beijing objected to his presence on a panel of Nobel laureates at an event being held at the Geneva Graduate Institute, the report said.
“Inviting the 14th Dalai Lama to the aforementioned event violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China, in contravention of the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter,” China’s diplomatic mission in Geneva is said to have written in a letter to UN officials and diplomats.
“China resolutely opposes the 14th Dalai Lama’s separatist activities in whatever capacity and in whatever name in any country, organization or event.”
The letter was dated March 8, the day that the event — which is being sponsored by the United States and Canada — was announced.
“The Permanent Mission of China kindly requests the Permanent Missions of all Member States, U.N. agencies and relevant International Organizations not to attend the above-mentioned event, nor meet the 14th Dalai Lama and his clique.”
Responding to the letter, a UN spokesman in Geneva said: “We take note but of course we are not bound by instructions from member states.”
Philippe Burrin, director of the Geneva institute, said that “pressures are being applied from various sides” but the event would not be cancelled.
“This is a question of freedom of expression and academic freedom to organize an event,” he told Reuters.
“It is not an event on Tibet, it is not on a politically sensitive subject, i.e. territorial issues, but on the role of civil society in promoting human rights,” Burrin said.
In related news, China strongly rejected US-led criticism of its human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, saying Washington is hypocritical and guilty of crimes itself.
“The US is notorious for prison abuse at Guantanamo prison, its gun violence is rampant, racism is its deep-rooted malaise,” Chinese diplomat Fu Cong told the Council.
“The United States conducts large-scale extra-territorial eavesdropping, uses drones to attack other countries’ innocent civilians, its troops on foreign soil commit rape and murder of local people. It conducts kidnapping overseas and uses black prisons.”
Fu was responding to a joint statement by the US and 11 other countries, which criticized China’s crackdown on human rights and its detentions of lawyers and activists.
The joint statement, delivered by Keith Harper, the American ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, expressed alarm at Beijing’s treatment of several Hong Kong residents who vanished and were evidently coerced into going to mainland China.
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