December 8, 2008

China shuns EU for meeting with Dalai Lama

by David Masters

China has strongly condemned French President Nicolas Sarkozy for meeting with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Chinese officials said the meeting was a rude intervention and represented gross interference into Chinese affairs.

China’s deputy foreign minister He Yafei said the meeting undermined the political foundations of good relations between Europe and China.

France currently holds the rotating European Union presidency.

Mr Sarkozy met with the Dalai Lama for half an hour at a gathering of Nobel Peace Prize laureates in the city of Gdansk, Poland.

Rama Yade, France’s minister for human rights, discredited China’s protest by affirming the Dalai Lama as a man of peace.

She added that the French government can meet whoever it wants.

The Dalai Lama also played down China’s protest, saying that Beijing often criticises foreign governments who meet with him, but rarely follow up the criticism with action.

However, China had already pulled out of its 11th summit with the EU because of the meeting.

China is opposed to the Dalai Lama because they believe he seeks to separate Tibet from the rest of China.

The Dalai Lama, however, is adamant that he only wants greater autonomy for Tibet.

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