Denial of Visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama Disappoints Kalmykia
New York, 24 June: Buddhist citizens of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia are dismayed that this year also they will not be able to receive teaching from their spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
This is the second time in three years that Moscow has declined the Kalmyk people’s request for the issuance of visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama so that he can visit their homeland and give Buddhist teaching.
Kirsan llyumzhinov, president of Kalmykia, had traveled several times to Dharamsala, India, to extend his people’s invitation to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced the decision to refuse visa in a press statement issued yesterday.
“Guided by the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and being aware of the sensitivity of the Tibet issue, we would not allow a visit by the Dalai Lama to Kalmykia at the invitation of a top official,” the statement said.
The statement went on to say that Russia considers Tibet an inalienable part of China.
Beijing received Moscow’s announcement with triumphalism and said the decision reflects Moscow’s friendly relations with China.
Speaking to the press today, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said the rejection of visa application was in line with the joint communiquÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â© issued after the regular meeting of the prime ministers, in which “certain articles mentioned the Tibet issue”.
The communiquÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â© pledges Beijing and Moscow’s commitment to support each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
China calls the Tibetan leader a “splittist” and opposes all his overseas visits as a political move aimed at garnering support for the independence of Tibet and its separation from China.
In a related development, Beijing has launched a propaganda blitzkrieg on Kalmykia.
On 21 June, a team of eight Tibetans from the Tibet Autonomous Region descended on the republic, charged with the task of weaning the devotion and reverence of the Kalmyk Buddhists away from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Scheduled to leave Kalmykia on 25 June, the delegation is headed by Jampa Phuntsok, Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Government, and chaperoned by Chinese Ambassador Liu Guchang.
The Kalmyks informed the delegation of their deep reverence for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, said a report released by the International Campaign for Tibet in Washington, DC.
While in Elista, the Chinese Ambassador said his government would not want to see Kalmykia playing host to the Dalai Lama.
His Holiness had visited Kalmykia two times in the past.
The majority of Kalmykia’s 130,000 people are descendants of the Mongol Oriat tribe and followers of Tibetan Buddhism.
For decades, their culture and Buddhist faith were persecuted by the Stalinists.
In 1943 Stalin exiled the entire Kalmyk population to Siberia and northern parts of Russia.
After the death of Stalin, the Kalmyk Autonomous Republic was established and its people allowed to return home.
Gorbachev and his glasnost policy paved the way for the revival of Kalmykia’s destroyed Buddhist tradition.
Report sent by OoT, New York