Beijing pulls out of meeting, blaming French president for planning to meet Dalai Lama.
The Nobel peace laureate said he doubted the Chinese government’s seriousness in discussing the future of Tibet.
“We are not ‘splittists’ but the Chinese government still accuses us of being ‘splittists'”
The Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama’s comments came after he told members of the European Parliament that he was not leading a separatist movement in Tibet, despite repeated allegations from Beijing to the contrary.
“We are not ‘splittists’, but the Chinese government still accuses us of being ‘splittists’,” he said.
Hans-Gert Poettering, the parliament’s president, called on Chinese leaders to hold meaningful talks with representatives of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.
He gave his assurance that the European parliament would “continue to defend the rights of the Tibetan people to their cultural and religious identity”.
The Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India, has sought “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet since he fled the region following a failed uprising in 1959 against Chinese rule, nine years after Chinese troops invaded the region.
On Saturday the exiled Tibetan leader will be in Poland to meet Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency.
Beijing, angered by the scheduled meeting, took an unprecedented decision to call off an EU summit that was supposed to have been held in France this week.
China objects to foreign leaders meeting with the Dalai Lama whom it says is trying to push for independence for his Himalayan homeland that has been under Chinese rule since 1951.