Chinese ambassador reprimands Estonian MP for Tibet visit

The Dalai Lama and Juku-Kalle Raid, chairman of the Tibetan support group of the Riigikogu.
The Dalai Lama and Juku-Kalle Raid, chairman of the Tibetan support group of the Riigikogu. Photo: Dalai-laama Eriesindaja Sonam Frasi

Chinese Ambassador to Estonia Guo Xiaomei has requested a meeting with Juku-Kalle Raid, a member of the Riigikogu and chairman of the parliamentary support group for Tibet, to discuss Raid's visit to the Tibetan government in exile last month.

«No country or government in the world has ever recognized 'Tibetan independence',» the Chinese ambassador wrote to Raid.

«I am writing this letter to express my concern over your activities related to Xizang, including your recent visit to the 14th Dalai Lama and the 'ministers' and 'parliament' of the 'Tibetan government in exile,' and to provide some balanced information,» Xiaomei said.

«The principles of respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity and refraining from interfering in internal affairs are the fundamental norms governing international relations. The Estonian government has committed to recognizing Xizang as an integral part of China and not supporting any separatist forces or activities that demand 'Tibetan independence',» the ambassador said.

«Members of the Riigikogu, as public officials serving in an Estonian state body, are obliged to fulfill the international commitments made by Estonia. The 'Tibetan government in exile' is essentially a separatist political group and an illegal organization that is entirely contrary to the Chinese Constitution and other laws. It is not recognized by any country in the world,» Xiaomei said.

«The 14th Dalai Lama is a political exile disguised as a religious figure who has long engaged in anti-China separatist activities and attempts to separate Xizang from China. As a responsible politician, a member of the Riigikogu should firmly adhere to international norms, respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, become more familiar with facts related to Xizang, and cease any form of interaction with the so-called Tibetan government in exile,» the ambassador told Raid.

Raid told Postimees that this is a very old and tired tune in which China always reacts very painfully to questions about Tibet.

«But not only that. Beijing was similarly enraged by a visit to Taiwan, and the same happens every time someone draws attention to the Chinese regime, which relentlessly harasses minority peoples,» Raid said.

«Regarding Tibet, the matter seems particularly absurd -- China occupied Tibet, not 'liberated' it, as they continually claim. Furthermore, their official narrative even talks about 'peaceful liberation',» Raid said. «Very peaceful indeed, when about 80,000 people, including the Dalai Lama, were forced to leave Tibet simultaneously and were accepted in India as political refugees.»

Raid added that this «liberation» rhetoric is also well remembered in Estonia.

«We too were 'peacefully liberated', the same rhetoric is consistently used by Russia regarding Ukraine; and Russia is a great friend and cooperation partner of China,» he emphasized.

The Estonian MP pointed out that it is particularly noteworthy that the ruling circles in China desperately avoid mentioning Tibet and refer to it as the Xizang province. Raid finds the claim that Tibetans are «part of the great family of the Chinese people» laughable.

«The Chinese also have another charming habit -- trying to summon citizens of other countries for a dressing-down,» he mentioned.

«As chairman of the support group for Tibet, I sent a polite response from our group to the ambassador, stating that Estonian citizens are not employees of his embassy or subjects of the communist dictatorship of China. I am happy to meet with the ambassador, so I invited him to the Riigikogu if he wants to clarify anything. And if that doesn't suit him, we can arrange to meet at Kuku Club or Hiiu BBQ pub for all I care, but definitely not at the Chinese embassy,» Raid said. «What China cannot do, however, is demand that we should cease 'any form of interaction with the so-called Tibetan government in exile'.»