Beijing, May 28 — Chinese President Hu Jintao and Chairman of National People’s Congress Wu Bangguo avoided the touchy Tibet issue. So it was left to Jia Quinglin to give the parting shot to President Pratibha Devisingh Patil in Beijing on Friday.
External Affairs officials said it wasn’t unusual for Quinglin to raise the Tibet issue and convey “concern” about the Dalai Lama’s “activities” in India. “He is the Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) that deals with ethnic issues in China, and that includes the Tibetans,” an official said.
The 2196-member strong CPPCC is regarded as China’s top political advisory body. The 70-year-old Jia met Patil at the Great Hall of the People in the afternoon.
While waxing eloquent on India’s age-old relationship with China, he raised the Tibetan issue. Jia described the Dalai Lama as more of a political leader than a spiritual figure.
But Patil referred to as the Dalai Lama as a spiritual leader “who stays in India”. The President, officials said, told Jia that India regarded Tibet Autonomous Region as a part of China and “this does not allow any anti-China activities by Tibetans in India”.
The President cited the example of Olympic torch relay in India ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and how the Indian government took steps to ensure nothing untoward happened. Later, at her first public speech during her six-day visit, Patil told China’s leadership that ‘mutual understanding of each other’s sensitivities’ held the key to “deeper and sturdier friendship” between the two Asian giants.
She emphasized the “time-tested” Sino-India friendship “forged in the crucibles of civilisation”, foreseeing growing scope for cooperation between the two countries.