Tibetan official slams Obama-Dalai Lama meeting, refutes rumors on self-immolations

Qiangba Puncog, Tibet vice Party secretary, and Padma Choling (R), chairman of Tibet's People's Congress, during the National People's Congress in Beijing, March 8, 2013. Photo: Reuters

A senior Tibetan official on March 9 lashed out at the recent Obama-Dalai Lama meeting and refuted rumors over self-immolations in Tibet during the annual session of the national parliament.

"The recent meeting between US President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama will not affect Tibet's development and stability," Padma Choling, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Regional People's Congress, told reporters at a panel discussion of the annual session of the National People's Congress.

The 14th Dalai Lama's outbound visits, which are aimed at seeking independence of Tibet, unveil his intrigue of degenerating Tibet back into the society under the system of feudal serfdom, said Padma Choling,

"Any foreign politician's meeting with the 14th Dalai Lama, no matter in what form, is strongly opposed by the Chinese government and the Tibetan people, who see it as a severe interference in China's internal affairs," noted the Tibetan official.

When asked whether materialism, the philosophical basis for the ideology of the Communist Party of China (CPC), can coexist with Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet which has a strong religious following, the official said, "I am a pure materialist. My 86-year-old mother is a pure adherent of Tibetan Buddhism, who takes daily ritual walk along the Barkhor Street. My relationship with her is very harmonious. Why? It is because of China's constitution, which allows religious freedom. To chose which kind of religion to follow is one's right that should be respected."

A society where atheists are at loggerheads with religious believers cannot be called a harmonious society, said Padma Cooling, adding that the CPC and the Chinese government respect and protect religious activities allowed by the Chinese law.

At the panel discussion, Padma Choling refuted rumors that as of the end of 2013 more than 100 monks and nuns self-immolated in Tibet. "None of the 46,000 monks and nuns in Tibet's 1,700-plus monasteries, nor any local residents, have self-immolated since such events were plotted by the Dalai Lama clique," said Padma Choling, adding that the central government's attitude toward the return of the Dalai Lama to his homeland is specific and will not change.

The regional legislature chief urged reporters to make clear the location of the self-immolation before reporting it.

Padma Choling hailed the Tibetan-Han relationship as the best among 56 ethnic groups in China, saying it is the result of intermarriage between Tibetans and Han people.

"The so-called 'tensions' between Han people and Tibetans is fabricated by the Dalai Lama clique for undermining ethnic solidarity in Tibet. We should safeguard Tibet's ethnic solidarity in a way we protect our eyes," said Padma Choling.

When talking about the recent knife attack in China's southwestern city of Kunming, which left 29 civilians dead and 143 injured, Padma Choling denounced the terrorist attack as an inhuman act and contradicted rumors that such terrorist attack is likely to happen in Tibet.

"We are grateful to the central government's financial support since 20 years. And we (the local government) are capable of fighting against any separatist force," said Padma Choling.

"The key to governing Tibet is how we win over people's heart," added Padma Choling.

(The article is edited by Ding Yi)

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