Botswana-China Rift– Botswana leader has reminded China and all who cares to know that as a sovereign nation, it is out of place for external bodies to dictate who visits the country and who does not.
President Ian Khama who is considered one of the best leaders in Africa has given Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama the greenlight to visit the country after his recovery or any time he deems fit.
“So we assume he will make a speedy recovery and once he has recovered, he is of course welcome to come and visit Botswana.”
Dalai Lama is a Chinese spiritual leader who is on exile in India. The 1989 Nobel Prize Winner fled to India after an uprising to overthrow the Chinese rule failed. For that and a range of other disagreements the Tibet born leader does not get along with the Chinese government.
The internationally recognized leader was expected to be Botswana this month. He was supposed to address the human rights conference in the capital, Gaborone, from August 17-19.
China on getting the information warned Botswana not to allow the “separatist” into the country, urging the government to respect its core interest.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said this in a press briefing,
“Issues relating to Tibet concern China’s sovereignty and territory integrity. We demand the relevant country earnestly respect China’s core interests and make the correct political decision on this matter.”
“China will not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, but will certainly not tolerate another country doing anything that harms China’s core interests.”
Disregarding the expectation of the Chinese government, President Khama reminded China that the right to deny and grant visas to anyone is exclusively the business of Botswana.
Like most African countries, China is Botswana’s largest trade partner. Putting that fact aside, Botswana has taken a sovereign stand that squares up to the Asian country. He emphasizes that the mutual economic ties between both countries does not afford China power to interfere in his administration and decisions.
President Ian Khama disappointed the Chinese government. He confirmed in an interview that China had threatened to take actions that will affect the economy.
“China engaged in intimidation, they told me things like the Ambassador may be recalled, it would damage relations between Botswana and China, that they would engage other African countries to isolate Botswana.”
However he does not intend to change his mind on The Dalai Lama whose visit would have been the first in Africa.
China seems to be in the habit of threatening African countries with their supposed lucrative economic presence and business interests. Ironically this trait was found lacking in the North Korea Missile crisis.
South Africa has denied the Chinese spiritual leader visa into the country for 3 consecutive times, courtesy of the infamous Chinese threats.
President Ian’s refusal to comply with the Chinese government is perhaps a way to make their Asian counterpart understand they are both in a mutual economic agreement.
There is always a misconstrued attitude as though foreign investments though helpful to the African economy is a favor from the foreign countries. This scenario with mineral rich Botswana stresses that business partnerships has its boundaries.
China is the second largest buyer of Botswana’s diamonds. Several reports have showed Botswana’s dissatisfaction with their low quality infrastructures in the country.
China’s Bone Of Contention With Tenzin Gyatso
Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th Dalai Lama, a title for Tibet spiritual leaders.
Being a fan of the Marxist theory, Tenzin said he was tempted “to become a Communist Party member”. Sadly he discovered that the communist policies upheld in China was a farce. He accused the ruling government of taking advantage of the people under the cover of communism.
After the 1959 Tibet uprising, he ran to India in exile.
Ever since, the Chinese government frowns at any international accolade given to him.