China Slams UN Over Tibet Criticism

Amid the recent string of self-immolations in Tibet protesting Chinese rule, the United Nations’ Rights chief, Navi Pillay, critiqued China’s Tibet policies. In response, China has slammed the UN’s criticism and rejected Pillay’s claims, from AP:

China strongly objected Monday to a U.N. critique that it must better address grievances in Tibetan areas where there have been frequent self-immolations, saying the protests are instigated by exiles in an “ugly and evil” attempt to promote separatism.

Beijing has sought to play down the notion that people in Tibetan areas have complaints about Chinese rule by portraying any protests as being instigated from abroad by the exiled Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his supporters.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei rejected Pillay’s comments and said the Dalai Lama is trying to glorify self-immolations in a campaign to undermine the Chinese government.

“These ugly and evil acts intended to achieve the separatist goal of Tibetan independence at the expense of other people’s lives go against universal humanity and morality and deserve strong condemnation,” Hong said.

According to China Daily, Hong also claimed that Tibetans are satisfied with the current situation:

Hong told a regular press briefing that people in Tibet are enjoying economic growth, social stability and a settled life. Their religious, political, economic and cultural rights are guaranteed.

“The clique has talked black into white, passed the buck to the Chinese government, and made accusations about China’s national and religious policies. Such despicable behavior with the sacrifice of other people’s lives goes against human morals and conscience, and should be severely condemned,” Hong said.

He added that China hopes the high commissioner will uphold an objective, fair and neutral stance, and stop issuing remarks interfering in China’s domestic affairs.

According to the spokesman, people in Tibetan-populated regions are satisfied with the current situation. He stressed that China opposes any foreign government, organization or people interfering in its internal affairs in any form.

These remarks come amid the upcoming 18th party congress and change in leadership. The Voice of America reports the Dalai Lama says the new leadership must embark on political reform:

Speaking to reporters Monday during a pastoral visit to Japan, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said China is already reforming its economy. He said the only area left for expected incoming president Xi Jinping to reform is the country’s politics.

The Dalai Lama acknowledged that economic reforms had produced benefits for China, but said the resort to force by the authorities was at odds with their aim of creating a “harmonious society.”

“More democratic principles, then many issues can solve, at least reduce these problems. So this issue with the islands, I think can be much easier to deal,” he said.

While most analysts say they do not expect to see any dramatic reforms from China’s new leaders right away, they say they do hope for more transparency.

As the Dalai Lama commented on China’s politics from Japan, China has also protested the Dalai Lama’s presence in the neighboring country. This protest comes amid recent tensions over the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands. From the Press Trust of India:

China today lodged a protest with Japan for hosting the Dalai Lama for a 10-day trip as it accused the Tibetan spiritual leader of attempting to split the country “in the disguise of religion”.

“The Dalai Lama is merely a political exile who has long been engaged in activities to split China under the disguise of religion,” Hong Lei said in response to a question regarding the Tibetan spiritual leader’s trip to Japan, which started yesterday.

The Dalai Lama’s “international activities aim at colluding with international anti-China separatist forces to undermine relations between China and other countries so as to split the nation,” said Hong.

China has lodged a solemn representation to Japan, he said.