The University of California San Diego (UCSD) refused to disinvite the Dalai Lama to make a graduation speech in June but promised that the speech would "have nothing to do with politics" after a meeting with Chinese overseas students on Wednesday.
Pradeep K. Khosla, the UCSD chancellor, met with three groups of Chinese overseas students, namely the Chinese Union, Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) and the Chinese Business Society, Fan Da (pseudonym), a member of the Chinese Union, told the Global Times on Thursday.
"The university said that they would not disinvite the Dalai Lama but will stop using words like 'freedom fighter' and 'spiritual head and leader of the Tibetan people' to describe him," Fan said.
Fan added that the chancellor promised that the Dalai Lama would not include any political content in his speech and the university would soon publish a notice about the issue.
"When we asked the chancellor if he knew that the university's invitation to the Dalai Lama hurt Chinese people's feelings, the chancellor said he only knew that the Dalai Lama is a 'religious activist' but had no idea about what he did," noted Fan.
The meeting lasted for about one hour. It was not clear what actions Chinese students would take to continue their protests, according to Fan.
The UCSD announced on its website on February 2 that it has invited the 14th Dalai Lama to give a keynote speech at the All Campus Commencement on June 17, as well as a speech on June 16 at a public event.
The university described the Dalai Lama, a separatist, as "the exiled spiritual head and leader of the Tibetan people" in the announcement.
The CSSA published a statement on its Wechat account on February 3, protesting against the Dalai Lama's speech.
"The Dalai Lama is not a pure religious activist but a political exile who has been engaging in secessionist activities for a long time … by inviting the Dalai Lama, the UCSD is not only interfering with China's domestic affairs but also hurting the feelings of Chinese students and academicians in the university," read the statement.
The UCSD is a public research university located in La Jolla, California, in the US.