The Foreign Ministry said yesterday that the government
criticized US President George W. Bush for meeting the Dalai Lama
Liu Jianchao, ministry spokesperson, told the regular press
conference in Beijing that "the Dalai Lama is not a simple or a
pure religious figure. He is a political exile who undertakes
secessionist activities abroad."
"We oppose meetings between him and other leaders," said Liu.
"Other leaders should not provide a platform for him to separate
On Tuesday, the Bush administration, in a report to Congress,
labeled China a serious violator of religious freedom along with
Myanmar, North Korea, Vietnam, Iran, Sudan, Eritrea and Saudi
Liu said the State Department's annual report on religious
freedom, which said China restricts religious practice to
State-sanctioned groups, made groundless accusations.
"We urge the US Government to stop interfering in China's
religious affairs under the guise of the religion issue," he said,
adding all people in all regions in China enjoy religious freedom
in accordance with the law.
But Liu said the two incidents would not overshadow Bush's visit
"The importance will not be diminished by a single incident," he
said. "The visit will achieve its planned goals."
Jintao, Premier Wen
Jiabao and other Chinese leaders are due to meet Bush when he
visits China from November 19 to 21.
Liu said he hoped the upcoming visit would further promote
Sino-US ties have been "going on smoothly" on the whole, and
that good relations have brought concrete benefits to the peoples
of both countries.
Liu said China hopes to narrow differences and promote mutual
understanding and trust in order to enhance comprehensive bilateral
cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
At the same press conference, Liu denied a report that luxury
hotels in Beijing had been warned that they could be attacked by
Islamist extremists, describing it as "sheer fabrication" and
saying the online report was from an anonymous foreign citizen.
The US Embassy in Beijing posted a statement on its website on
Wednesday saying luxury hotels in Beijing had been warned of an
attack in the next week.
Liu said the Ministry of Public Security has never released such
a warning and "is making an investigation into this case."
Liu also said China is willing to strengthen cooperation with
South Asian countries to achieve common prosperity.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
will hold its 13th summit on November 12 in Dhaka, the Bangladeshi
capital, and Liu said China wishes the summit great success.
Since the SAARC was set up 20 years ago, it has played an
important role in promoting economic and social development in the
South Asian region and China hopes it will make greater
achievements in pushing forward regional cooperation, Liu said.
The SAARC summit was originally to be held in Dhaka from January
9 to 11 but was postponed due to the impact of the December 26
tsunami that devastated areas of three of its member states, Sri
Lanka, India and the Maldives.
It was then rescheduled for February 6-7, but was again put off
as India refused to attend due to the political situation in Nepal
and the security situation in Bangladesh.
The SAARC, established in December 1985, has seven member
states: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and
On aid to quake-hit Pakistan, Liu said China shipped its 10th
batch of emergency disaster relief goods to the capital Islamabad
on Wednesday night. Including the shipment, China has provided a
total of US$26.73 million in aid to Pakistani victims.
A total of 1,911 tons of relief goods, including materials, cash
and medical services, were airlifted by 24 planes to Pakistan after
a powerful earthquake measuring 7.8 on Richter Scale on October 8,
Sent in three batches, the emergency disaster relief goods
included 4,674 tents, 24,000 bed quilts, 24,000 padded mattress,
9,200 blankets, 24,000 bed sheets and 900 power generating units,
The death toll came to 73,276, according to figures released by
Islamabad early in November.
On the six-party
talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Liu said China
expects the parties to enhance mutual trust and allay misgivings to
jointly push forward the talks.
"The six parties conducted in-depth discussions in a pragmatic
and positive atmosphere and set forth some constructive
suggestions," Liu said.
China, as the host, has its own stance and opinions on the
implementation of the Joint Statement, but it still needs to absorb
some beneficial and positive contents from other parties, he
China expects the six parties to reach an optimal and balanced
plan that can be accepted by all through in-depth consultation, Liu
As for divergences among the parties, it is "quite normal" and
"expected" that different opinions exist on such an important and
complicated issue, Liu said.
The second plenary session of the current round of talks was
held in Beijing yesterday, at which all parties concerned continued
to discuss the implementation of the goals set by the Joint
Statement signed in September.
The fifth round of talks started on Wednesday morning at the
Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing. More bilateral consultations
will be held on Friday, he said.
China has hosted four previous rounds of the talks since August
2003. The current phase of this round will probably last for three
days, according to the Foreign Ministry.
(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency November 11,