The wordy duel between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government got more intense on Tuesday with the Chinese foreign ministry describing him as an "actor and a liar". It was responding to a comment by the Tibetan leader who earlier said that Chinese hardliners have "parts of their brain missing".
"We often say that the 14th Dalai Lama is a political exile who wears religious clothing to engage in anti-China separatist activities" Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday, adding, "Now it seems he is an actor, who is very good at performing, and very deceptively."
The duel assumes significance in view of the recent political developments in the US with some analysts saying US President Donald Trump might meet the Dalai Lama. Trump earlier
created a stir by talking to Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen
China regards Taiwan as part of its territory and opposes any country having diplomatic relationship with it.
The Dalai Lama was asked by comedian John Oliver what he thought about reports that China might appoint his successor.
"Our brain usually, you see, has the ability to create common sense," he said. "The Chinese hardliners, in their brain, that part of the brain, is missing," the Tibetan leader said.
The Dalai Lama's comments "appear to be funny and humourous but they are all lies," Geng said.
Dalai Lama's comment came ahead of the annual meeting of legislators from Tibet, which is expected to take place in Beijing in the next few days. Every year this meeting adopts resolutions condemning the Tibetan leader as a sepratist who is trying to break up China. This time, the Dalai Lama has spoken ahead of this crucial meeting.
Beijing is also against:
Dalai Lama's plans to visit Arunachal Pradesh which China regards as a "disputed territory". It is asking the Indian government to stop the visit, which is expected in the coming weeks.
"China is strongly opposed to Dalai visiting disputed areas," Geng said last week. He warned that the visit will cause "serious damage" to Sino-India ties and that Beijing was "gravely concerned".
"The Dalai-clique has long been engaging in anti-China separatist activities and its record on the border question is not that good," he said.
China opposed his meeting with Lady Gaga last year. Beijing is sensitive to any well known person meeting the Tibetan leader because it gives his worldwide coverage, and hampers its efforts to show him as a sham.
"The purpose of his visits and activities in other countries is just to promote his proposal for Tibetan independence," foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei had said, adding: "We hope that people from the international community can be fully aware of his true colours and nature."