Danish Government to Snub Dalai Lama after Chinese Spat

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Denmark's government won't be meeting the Dalai Lama in Copenhagen this week after the relationship between Copenhagen and Beijing soured following a 2009 visit by the religious leader.

"The Dalai Lama has not requested a meeting with the government," Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard told AFP in emailed comments.

"We believe we can best help the Tibetans to have genuine autonomy, their own free culture and respect for human rights by engaging in cooperation and a human rights dialogue with China on the basis of the constitution that is now in place in China," he added.

Lidegaard said Danish policy was "unchanged: we view Tibet as a part of the People's Republic of China."

The decision marks an about-face for Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt who in 2009 -- when she was still the opposition leader -- pledged to meet with the Dalai Lama in an official capacity.

Beijing considers Tibet an integral part of its territory and regards the Dalai Lama, who arrived in Copenhagen on Tuesday, as a separatist.

He was invited by a group of Tibetan-Buddhist organizations to Copenhagen, where he will hold a press conference and two speeches on Buddhist philosophy.

The head of Denmark's Tibet Support Committee, Anders Hoejmark Andersen, said the Danish government was "afraid of consequences for the Danish-Chinese relationship."

"China has become an important player in the international community," he said.

"It sends the wrong signal to China when the government doesn't want to meet with the Dalai Lama," he added.

A 2009 meeting between Thorning-Schmidt's predecessor Lars Loekke Rasmussen and the religious leader -- termed as private and not official -- strained the relationship between Copenhagen and Beijing and bilateral ministerial meetings were canceled.

In a subsequent diplomatic note to Beijing, Denmark said it was "fully aware of the importance and sensitivity of Tibet-related issues and attaches great importance to the view of the Chinese government on these issues."

"Denmark takes very seriously the Chinese opposition to meetings between members of the Danish Government and the Dalai Lama, and has duly noted Chinese views that such meetings are against the core interest of China, and will handle such issues prudently," the note said.

Neighboring Norway's government in May declined to meet with the exiled religious leader in a controversial decision aimed at warming up icy relations with China.

Political relations between Beijing and Oslo plunged to a low after Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, with Chinese leaders freezing high-level contacts with Norwegian counterparts.

Last week China reiterated that is was opposed to foreign countries receiving the Dalai Lama, one day after U.S. President Barack Obama held a symbolic first public encounter with him.

"We are against foreign countries interfering in China's domestic affairs under the pretext of Tibet-related issues," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

Comments 1
Default-user-icon sam (Guest) 10 February 2015, 19:33

Pathetic ..... As the Chinese saying goes.... MIGHT IS RIGHT ... the world community is helping them prove it right.....