The planned award to the Dalai Lama by the U.S. Congress will not affect Tibet's stability, an official of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region said Tuesday in Beijing.
"It will only be an injection of cardiotonic to secessionist activities," Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the regional government of Tibet, told reporters at the ongoing 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The Dalai Lama is to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, a top U.S. civilian award, on Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol. The ceremony is said to be attended by U.S. President George W. Bush.
"The award won't have much influence on the stable development of Tibet," said Qiangba Puncog, a delegate to the Party congress.
He said the Dalai Lama has received dozens of awards in the West, and has been taking advantage of his special identity to be a cat's paw for some people. "This is not the first time, nor will it be the last. But his influence is very limited."
The awarding plan has sparked a discussion Tuesday in the Tibet delegation to the Party congress, which opens to Chinese and overseas journalists.
Tibet's Party chief Zhang Qingli voiced indignation and discontent.
"The Dalai Lama has never stopped, or slowed down his secessionist activities since he fled China 48 years ago," he said.
What the Dalai Lama has been doing runs contrary to his status as a "spiritual leader", said Zhang. "How can someone who does not love -- and even seeks to split -- his own country receive a welcome in some countries and even get awards? It's actually trampling on such awards."
The Tibetans have experienced great improvement in their lives in the past decades and know very well who really care for their well-being, Zhang said. "The Tibetans whole-heartedly uphold the CPC, and the will of the people is quite clear."
Qiangba Puncog said it depends largely on the Dalai Lama himself and his group whether his consultation with the Chinese government could make any progress, whether he would return to China and whether he would be able to do something beneficial to the Tibetan people in his life.
"The central government's policy is consistent: the precondition and fundamental requirement for the consultation on Dalai's return is that he has to give up his 'Tibet independence' claim and all secessionist activities, and admit that Tibet is an inalienable part of China," Qiangba Puncog said, adding this is also the key to resolving the issue.
"(Tibet's) independence is not acceptable, nor is semi-independence or independence in any disguised form," he said.
Qiangba Puncog said the central government had shown "utmost forbearance" by leaving him a post of vice chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee until 1964. "The central government never closed the door to consultation and contacts with Dalai Lama even though he did a lot to undermine Tibet's social stability."
Another Party delegate from Tibet pointed a finger to U.S. leaders, hoping they should do more things which are conducive to the relations with China.
"(We) hope the U.S. leaders will refrain from doing anything detrimental to Sino-U.S. friendship and the Chinese people, and from interfering in China's internal affairs," said Ragdi, a Tibet-born vice chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, China's top legislature.