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Grand welcome planned for Dalai Lama

October 24, 2007

China unlikely to retaliate, senator says

The Globe and Mail
October 23, 2007

OTTAWA -- Federal politicians of all stripes dismiss the possibility
that China will retaliate economically for Canada's public welcome of
the exiled Dalai Lama when he arrives here next week to celebrate his
honorary Canadian citizenship.

Conservative Senator Consiglio Di Nino and other parliamentarians who
helped arrange the visit held a press conference yesterday to support
the Buddhist leader's movement for Tibet's autonomy from China.

As recently as last month, Chinese officials in Ottawa said they
opposed foreign countries providing venues for the promotion of the
Dalai Lama's "secessionist activities." And China threatened
previously that trade with Canada would suffer if the Harper
government insists on criticizing Beijing for its human-rights record.

But Mr. Di Nino said the warnings from China are just bluster.

"The Chinese are going to huff and puff as they usually do. And that's
fine. We understand that. It's not going to impact on business. China
does business with Canada because it benefits China. Canada does
business with China because it benefits Canada," he told reporters.

"What we're asking for is to continue the relationships. We don't want
people to stop doing business with China. But to make sure that you
let the Chinese friends and colleagues know that some of the issues
about China have been raised as issues of concern in our country."

When asked yesterday if there could be economic consequences as a
result of the visit, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Ottawa
would not give a direct reply.

"The question of the Tibet issue touches on China's sovereignty and
territorial integrity. We attach great importance to this issue," she
said.

"The Canadian government also recognizes that Tibet is part of China
and does not recognize the so-called Tibetan government in exile. We
just hope that the Canadian government will honour its words on this
issue."

Ottawa, meanwhile, is preparing a grand welcome for the Dalai Lama.

Although the arrangements have not been finalized, Mr. Di Nino said
the Dalai Lama will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper,
opposition leaders and cabinet ministers. He will also make public
addresses in Ottawa and Toronto.

There has been a hesitancy on the part of previous prime ministers to
appear with the Dalai Lama in public because doing so could inflame
the Chinese.

But Mr. Di Nino said: "Not with this Prime Minister."

Bloc Québécois MP Diane Bourgeois also asserted that the Chinese will
impose no economic sanctions as a result of the meeting.

"Yes, commerce will continue because we are a market, because China is
a market," she told the press conference.

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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