Dalai Lama policy unchanged after Locke visit, say local officials

By Lin Meilian and Liu Sha Source:Global Times Published: 2013-6-30 23:43:01

Officials on Sunday confirmed to the Global Times that the US ambassador to China had just wrapped up his three-day visit to the Tibet Autonomous Region on Friday. They also reiterated that the policy over the Dalai Lama has not changed.

"Gary Locke did visit and has left," an unnamed official with the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, told the Global Times.

The US acting deputy State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said Locke discussed the importance of opening up access to Tibet for diplomats and also emphasized the importance of preserving the Tibetan people's cultural heritage, the Global Times learned in an e-mail reply from the US embassy in Beijing.

It was also the first time Chinese authorities had approved an embassy request to visit Tibet since September 2010.

The ambassador met with senior local officials and also leading monks from a number of Lhasa-based monasteries.

The official also slammed a report by the Washington-based Radio Free Asia that China has shown signs of rethinking some aspects of its Tibet policy following a series of self-immolations. "They are all rumors," he said.

"We hope the Dalai clique gives up its intention of separatism and gets back to the ground of unification and patriotism," he said, adding that local people are still not allowed to post portraits of the Dalai Lama on walls.

Hua Yanlong, a deputy inspector also from the CPC department, told the Global Times that changing the policy currently is "impossible."

"Our policy toward the Dalai clique is clear and consistent, and has not changed," the State Administration for Religious Affairs said in a reply sent to AFP and the BBC.

Agencies contributed to this story

Posted in: Diplomacy, Society

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