Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel with Shri Sujeet Kumar, the Convener of the Forums on 22 December 2021. Photo: TPiE

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Delhi, India — India objected to China's letter to the Indian MPs who attended a reception hosted by Tibetan MPs and said "We expect the Chinese side to refrain from hyping normal activities by honorable members of parliament and complicate further, the situation in our bilateral relations.”

On 6 January 2022, India strongly objected to the letter sent by the Political Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in India to Indian parliamentarians(MPs) after several of them attended the dinner reception hosted by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile on 22 December 2021, following the revival of the All-Party Parliamentary Forum for Tibet (APIPFT) in Delhi, India.

On 31 December 2021, the Political Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in India wrote a letter to the Members of Parliament who attended the dinner organised by the Tibetan Parliament in Exile on 22 December 2021.

The attending Indian MPs included representatives from a number of political parties and included BJD's Sujeet Kumar, convenor of the All-Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet, Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajeev Chandrashekhar, BJP’s Maneka Gandhi, and Congress MPs Jairam Ramesh and Manish Tewari.

When asked about his reaction to the recent letter from the Chinese Embassy to members of the Indian Parliamentarians, Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said, “We have seen reports about the political counselor at the Chinese embassy writing letters to honorable members of the parliament on their participation at an event. The substance, tone, and tenor of the letter are inappropriate.”

The spokesperson further added, “ The Chinese side should note that India is a vibrant democracy and honorable members of parliament, as representatives of the people undertake activities as per their views and beliefs. We expect the Chinese side to refrain from hyping normal activities by honorable members of parliament and complicate further, the situation in our bilateral relations."

The statement is a direct retort to the Chinese against their intimidation tactics used on democratic nations like India. In his letter to Indian MPs, Zhou Yongsheng, Political Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi had said, “You are a senior politician who know the China-India relations well. It is hoped that you could understand the sensitivity of the issue and refrain from providing support to the “Tibetan independence” forces, and make contributions to China-India bilateral relations.”

In response to this letter from the Chinese embassy, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile had issued a statement on 31 December 2021 by stating that, “Historically Tibet has never been a part of China. Since the illegal and violent occupation of Tibet, China has oppressed the Tibetans under its brutal and draconian policy. Tibetans inside Tibet are deprived of their fundamental rights and the situation inside Tibet remains grim till date. Hence, the Tibetan issue is not an ‘internal affair’ as China has repeatedly claimed but a critical concern on Tibetan existence.”

 

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