India will face serious consequences if its overseas citizens meddle in Chinese affairs by courting and promoting Tibetan leader Dalai Lama, a Chinese newspaper has said continuing the recent trend of demonising India in a section of state-controlled media in China.
This time the nationalistic tabloid Global Times – known for its strong views – picked on the Indian American chancellor of the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Pradeep Khosla for inviting the “the exiled spiritual head and leader of the Tibetan people” the Dalai Lama to address graduating students in June.
Apparently, the invitation triggered much anger among Chinese students from the mainland at the university; and, in Beijing, it triggered a harshly-worded opinion piece, which often lapsed into insults, repeatedly referring to Indians as “these Indians”.
Referring to the invitation extended by the chancellor to the India-based Dalai Lama, the GT article said:
“What is laughable is that the person behind the infamous invitation was campus chancellor Pradeep Khosla, an Indian American. The campus website posted a photo of Khosla who met the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, last October. This shows how some Indian Americans agitate China-India and China-US relations”.
The Tibetan leader is considered a separatist by the Communist Party of China-ruled government and has been referred to as “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, inciting separatism and self-immolations.
Dalai Lama with Pradeep Khosla in Dharamsala. (Picture courtesy: University of California San Diego)
Inviting the Tibetan leader for a lecture is apparently the same as trying to divide China, argued Xu Liang from the Indian Studies Centre at the Beijing International Studies University.
Then came the warning: “Since modern times, the Indians have enjoyed unity bestowed by the British. They ramified Pakistan, annexed Sikkim, and exploited geopolitical interests from ethnic divisions in Sri Lanka and Nepal. If the Indians indulge in the obsession of intruding on the territorial integrity of China, China will not sit still”.
“India is a big country in terms of public diplomacy, but if some overseas Indians make it their business to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and treading on their sovereignty, they will bear the political consequences,” Xu wrote.
“Khosla is imposing his views of the Dalai Lama on the student population at the university and using such an important occasion as commencement to promote someone who has nothing to do with education,” the author argued.
But Khosla wasn’t the only Indian among “these Indians” who deserved scorn from Xu.
“But he is not the first and the only person to take such action. In recent years, as Indian authorities gradually offset the support for the Dalai Lama, some public organisations supporting the Buddhist monk have become more active.
In 2008, many Indians and Westerners in Nepal held demonstrations in Kathmandu against the Beijing Olympic torch relay,” Xu wrote.
“Some Indians in European countries have also tried to lobby local officials for more opportunities for the Dalai Lama to speak to an international audience. With a clear knowledge of the Chinese government’s stance toward the issue, these Indians overseas are deliberately opposing China,” Xu wrote.
“These overseas Indians do not have a clear sense of how international politics function. They cannot feel the hurt that a divided country brings to its people.”