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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Dalai Lama visit may 'affect ties'

May 7, 2009

By Wang Linyan (China Daily)

(China Daily is an official publication of the Communist Party of China
and the government of People?s Republic of China.)
Updated: 2009-05-05 08:55

Only a month after Sino-French relations got back on track, the Dalai
Lama has planned a visit to Paris.

And he could become an honorary citizen of Paris in the process.

It's a move analysts say would affect relations between China and France.

"The Dalai Lama's visit will have an impact on bilateral relations,"
said Zhao Junjie, a senior researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social
Sciences. "The Dalai Lama intends to disturb Sino-French relations
through his visit at a time when they are developing in a healthy way."

The Dalai Lama is due to visit Paris June 6-8, his spokesman Wangpo
Bashi told AFP.

His visit is part of a European tour that includes Denmark, Iceland and
the Netherlands, Bashi said.

"It is very possible that he will receive the title of 'honorary
citizen' of the city of Paris from the mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, but no
meeting with leaders of the French government is scheduled," AFP quoted
Bashi as saying.

Paris city council, led by socialist Delanoe, approved a resolution in
April 2008 to honor the Dalai Lama, but the French government has
distanced itself from the local government's move, according to AFP.
President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservatives opposed the measure.

The Dalai Lama received the titles of "honorary citizen" in Rome and
Venice in February.

Pang Zhongying, a professor with Renmin University of China, said the
impact on bilateral relations of the Dalai Lama's visit is "manageable".

"Sino-French relations, on the whole, are moving in the right direction.
The Dalai Lama's visit won't return us to a state of tension again. But
the visit will affect people-to-people relations between the two
countries," Pang said.

Sino-French relations warmed after several high-ranking French officials
visited China, including Former French prime minister Jean-Pierre
Raffarin, French National Assembly Speaker Bernard Accoyer and former
French president Jacques Chirac.

Bilateral tensions thawed after the two foreign ministries jointly
released a communiqu on April 1 stating that France fully recognized
"the sensitivity of the Tibet issue" and that France would not support
"Tibet independence" in any form.

The same day, President Hu Jintao met Sarkozy on the sidelines of the
G20 summit in London, signaling the restoration of ties that were soured
by Sarkozy's December meeting with the Dalai Lama in Poland.

After Sarkozy's meeting with the Dalai, China called off the Sino-EU
summit scheduled in Lyon, France and cancelled high-level visits to France.

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