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Chinese leader knocks off Tawang claim

March 7, 2010

Saibal Dasgupta
TImes of India
March 4, 2010

BEIJING (TNN) -- A senior Chinese leader, Li
Zhaoxing inadvertently knocked off the very basis
of China's claim over Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh
on Thursday. Li, who is spokesman of the Chinese
parliament, did that by criticizing the love
poems written by the India-born 6th Dalai Lama in the 16th century.

China has been claiming ownership over Tawang on
the ground that the 6th Dalai Lama was born
there. By showing disrespect towards him, Li has
unsettled Beijing’s raison d’etre for laying
claim over Tawang and Arunachal Pradesh as a whole.

"There was a man named Tsangyang Gyatso. He was
the 6th Dalai Lama. He wrote love poems. One poem
he wrote about (telling) lies," he said.

"In one poem, he said some lies are colorful to
look at and fragrant if you smell them," Lim a
former foreign minister of China told a press conference.

Srikant Kondapalli, professor of Chinese affairs
at the Jawaharlal Nehru University believes that
Communist leaders usually come up with such cases
to show the institution of the Dalai Lama in poor
light and destroy the respect the Tibetans have for it.

"There is some truth in the Chinese allegation
that the 6th Dalai Lama indulged in the pleasures
of this worldly life. But China is using this
example to puncture the good image of the Dalai Lama institution,” he told TNN.

Kondapalli said the Chinese government did not
demand Arunachal Pradesh until 1984 when an
official expert wrote an article voicing the
claim. The scholar, Jing Hui, said Tawang should
be given back to China as it was the birthplace
of the 6th Dalai Lama. China has since been using
the argument about the birthplace to support its claim.

The 6th Dalai Lama is viewed in Tibet as a rebel
monk who has greatly contributed to Tibetan
literature. One of his poems reads: ’Sweetheart
awaiting me in my bed/ Yielding tenderly her
sweet soft body,/ Has she come to cheat me/ And disrobe me of my virtues?”

The official website of the Dalai Lama described
the 16th century religious head as someone who
spent "nights in taverns in Lhasa and Shol” and
lost his path. “He left his monastic study and
chose the outdoor life, he had no plans to take
the fully ordained vows,” the website, said.
( “He was known to be a
great poet and writer and he wrote several poems," it further said.

Several Chinese leaders have condemned the
present Dalai Lama saying he was a lair and "a
wolf in monk’s robes." At Thursday’s press
conference, Li challenged the Dalai Lama’s
statement that he did not work for an independent Tibet.

"Why did the Dalai Lama propose a 'Greater Tibet'
and keep the 'government-in-exile' with a
so-called constitution while claiming he is not
in support of 'Tibet independence'?" Li asked.

He castigated foreign leaders who spent time
meeting the Dalai Lama and thus encouraged
pro-Tibet forces without realizing that he was
more a political figure than a religious one.
“Some foreign politicians said the Dalai Lama is
a religious figure, but in fact he is a political
exile. A very close friend of mine who served an
important post in the US government said the
Dalai Lama was a political monk," Li said a day
before the opening of the National People's Congress session.
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