A Chinese scholar, who advises Beijing on Tibet, said on Thursday that Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh was "a part of China" and that the Dalai Lama's upcoming visit to Tawang would "hurt" relations between India and China.
China was also likely to choose a successor to the 14th Dalai Lama from within China, said Lian Xiangmin, Director of Institute of Contemporary Tibetan Studies at the China Tibetology Research Centre (CTRC), an influential official think-tank that advises the government on its Tibet policy.
In a rare interaction with journalists along with other CTRC scholars on Thursday, Lian asserted China's claims on Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, citing its historical links with Tibet, and said the Dalai Lama's visit would hurt relations.
China's Foreign Ministry said this month it had raised the Dalai Lama's upcoming visit to Tawang, likely 'to be from April 5-7, with India through official diplomatic channels and expressed "grave concerns". Under the boundary dispute in the eastern sector, China claims 90,000 sq km in Arunachal Pradesh and has expressed particularly strong claims on Tawang in the border talks since 1985.
Lian on Thursday reiterated China's claims on Tawang. "One of the three major temples of Tibet is Zhaibang (Drepung monastery near Lhasa), and Tawang was a subsidiary of Drepung and in history, Tawang's monks went to Drepung to study sutras. Tawang under Drepung also made contributions to the local government. So Tawang is part of Tibet and Tibet is part of China, so Tawang is part of China. So this is not much of a question."
Although Tawang may have had historical links with Lhasa, the real source of contention is whether or not Tibet was then a part of China as Beijing claims, or whether that only began with the People's Liberation Army's occupation of Tibet in 1951.
Indiatoday in, March 25,2017