China has warned Botswana against allowing the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader – the Dalai Lama – to visit the southern African country next month, Reuters news agency reports.
The Dalai Lama is due to address a human rights conference in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone in August as well as meet President Ian Khama.
Mr Geng Shuang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman is reported to have told a news briefing in Beijing today that the Dalai Lama used his position to involve himself in activities that were against China.
“We hope the relevant country can clearly recognise the essence of who the Dalai Lama is, earnestly respect China’s core concerns, and make the correct decision on this issue”.
The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet into exile in India nearly 60 years ago following a failed uprising against Chinese rule, has long been at odds with China. The Chinese government calls him a dangerous separatist, Reuters says.