|China warns Obama over meeting Dalai Lama|
|Written by Tâm Hải|
|Wednesday, 18 November 2009 13:43|
AP, Thursday, November 12, 2009 17:53 Read in Vietnamese
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama leads the last day of prayer meetings and teaching sessions, in Tawang, near the frontier with Chinese-controlled Tibet, Arunachal Pradesh state, India, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009. China has protested the Tibetan spiritual leader's week long visit to the northeastern Arunachal Pradesh state that began Sunday after months of rising friction between India and China. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
BEIJING — On the eve of President Barack Obama's first visit to Asia, China floated a potentially provocative comparison, likening serfdom in Tibet to slavery in the U.S. — an apparent attempt to gain support for its policies in the Himalayan region.
Asked about a possible meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama, Qin said the U.S. president should recognize the exiled Tibetan leader — a Nobel Peace Prize winner — as the former head of a slave state.
"In 1959, China abolished the feudal serf system just as President Lincoln freed the black slaves. So we hope President Obama more than any other foreign state leader can have a better understanding on China's position on opposing the Dalai's splitting activities," Qin told reporters at a regularly scheduled news conference.
Many Tibetans reject such arguments, saying Tibet was an independent state when Chinese communist troops entered in 1950. They also say that while Tibetan peasants were required to work on feudal estates, they enjoyed considerable freedoms and were not slaves.
Chinese officials, including former President Jiang Zemin, have invoked Lincoln before, but usually in the context of unification with Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing claims as its own territory.
Beijing often protests his travel abroad and his meetings with heads of state. This week, the spiritual leader visited a region of India near the Tibetan border, drawing a sharp rebuke from China
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