Zhong Sheng

Independent Analyst in Beijing

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by Zhong Sheng

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Zhong Sheng is an independent analyst based in Beijing.
Jul 25, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama recently met with the Dalai Lama at the White House despite strong objections from China. Shortly after the meeting, China expressed its high indignation and determined opposition in a stern formal complaint with the United States.

Tibet-related issues are purely China's internal affairs, and the Dalai Lama is just a political refugee who has been trying to separate Tibet from China under the banner of religion for a long time. Obviously, the U.S. president's meeting with the Dalai Lama has grossly interfered in China's internal affairs.

At a time when the Chinese people were celebrating the 60th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet, an anti-China separatist was invited to the White House to meet with the U.S. president. This has unavoidably hurt the feelings of the Chinese people including the Tibetan people, and undermined China-U.S. relations. China takes a consistent and principled stand on Tibet-related issues as they are closely related to China's sovereign rights and territorial integrity.

It should be noted that the purpose of China's strong opposition to Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama is not only to safeguard its own core interests, but also to uphold a fundamental principle governing international relations, namely non-interference in each other's internal affairs.

The peaceful liberation of and democratic reform in Tibet are as great as the abolition of black slavery in the Untied States, the anti-slavery movement in Europe and the abolition of apartheid in South Africa. Anyone who respects history and human rights knows what kind of person the Dalai Lama is. Certain U.S. media outlets were conquered by the smile of the Dalai Lama and his title of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. A senior State Department official even publicly extolled him as a "living Buddha." Do they have any respect for history, morality and justice?

Just listening to the frank remarks made by former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, "We have completely lost to the old man who is seeking to change the world using his prayers and smile, and have given up critical thinking in front of him. If we look carefully at the history of Tibet under the rule of the Dalai Lama, we will find that Tibet was still a society of serfdom back then. Tibet's serfdom was not abolished until the middle of the 1950s. If we see only the Dalai Lama's smile, it will mean that we care only about the symbolic meaning of the Tibet issue instead of Tibet itself."

Since Americans regard anti-slavery movement leader Abraham Lincoln as a "Great Emancipator," they will not go too far to be completely lost when judging things related to historical human progress. The Dalai Lama has again become a tool of the pragmatist tricks played by the United States. Earlier, a European media agency reported: the West has had a strategy toward China, and the so-called "Tibet issue" can be used as an ace in the poker game to fight against China.

It is not difficult for those who pay close attention to public opinion in the United States to find that the awareness of being concerned about the weakening of "American superpower status" is increasing in the United States. Some pundits in Washington DC even made clear that the "soft power" of the United States is being challenged. It is reasonable for political commentators in the United States to habitually find causes from the rise of major developing countries as well as the changes in comprehensive strength of countries.

Nevertheless, the "superpower status" of the United States must come with an appropriate moral image, and the immoral pragmatist tricks will do harm to both others and itself.
Many in the U.S. media always speculate that Washington's creation problems for China-U.S. relations is driven by political considerations because the White House has to keep its balance. However, it seems that the analysis has become a convention, and China-U.S. relations can only develop in accordance with the U.S. domestic political rules. This is not fair. China-U.S. relations that develop on this basis will also be unstable.

Since the United States welcomes China to come on stage as a thriving and prosperous country, it needs to sincerely treat China as an equal strategic partner. The space for Washington to deal with China-U.S. relations in accordance with its own timetable has been greatly reduced. Agendas of China-U.S. relations are currently arranged one after another, and any destructive actions will have a significant impact on following agendas. The China-U.S. bilateral agenda and the global agenda cannot give Washington more time to do the so-called remedies. Therefore, such remedies will become increasingly difficult at the policy level.

Even the U.S. media have noted that negotiations regarding the U.S. debt issue are currently in progress, and China is the largest creditor of the United States. As the U.S. debt default will certainly cause serious harm to Chinese interests, China has expressed concern about this issue. Obama met with the Dalai Lama at a time when a series of high-level contacts between China and the United States are about to be launched.

Therefore, this meeting will certainly have negative effects on the development process of the China-U.S. relations.

The China-U.S. relationship is the world's most important bilateral relationship. China has been actively maintaining and promoting the healthy development of China-U.S. relations. However, maintaining the sustained and steady development of China-U.S. relations needs the joint efforts of both sides.

Source: People's Daily.