December 29, 2004

Tibet: China Warns Japan Not to Issue a Visa to Dalai Lama

China sent a warning to Japan not to issue a visa to Tibet's exiled leader the Dalai Lama, who is planning to visit Japan in April, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said
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China sent a warning to Japan not to issue a visa to Tibet's exiled leader the Dalai Lama, who is planning to visit Japan in April, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

``We received word that Japan has decided that it will issue a visa to the Dalai Lama,'' Liu said. ``We have brought our complaints to Japan and hope Japan will show restraint.''

China's statement comes on the heels of Japan's decision to issue a tourist visa to former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui, whom China dislikes for his pro-Taiwan independence activities.

``We're still observing before we decide what to do next'' about Lee's visa, Liu said at a regular press briefing today in Beijing. In 1991, China's then National People's Congress Chairman Li Peng canceled a scheduled visit to Japan in protest against Lee's visit that year.

Lee, a 1945 graduate of Japan's Kyoto Imperial University, retired as Taiwan's president in 2000. Lee began a seven-day visit to Japan yesterday. He has been active as the honorary head of the pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union party, and China accuses him of being a ``trouble maker and separatist.''

China opposes issuing a visa to Lee because the government in Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province. China and Taiwan have been fighting a diplomatic war for years. Both sides have been ruled separately since the 1949 civil war.

China also considers the Dalai Lama and his supporters to be ``separatists who pursue separatism'' for China's Tibetan region and try to restrict the senior monk's international movements.

Source: Bloomberg

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