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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."

China: Dalai Lama meeting 'ruins' relationship

June 3, 2009

The Copenhagen Post
Tuesday, 02 June 2009

‘Private’ meeting between the PM and Tibet’s spiritual leader evokes strong
reaction from Beijing

China’s Foreign Ministry warned on Friday that meeting between Prime
Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and the Dalai Lama had ‘severely harmed’
bi-lateral relations between China and Denmark.

‘This has ruined the friendly, co-operative atmosphere between China and
Denmark. China expresses strong dissatisfaction and protest over this,’ the
Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

The announcement came after both Rasmussen and Foreign Minister Per Stig
Møller met privately with the exiled Tibetan leader who was on a three-day
lecture visit in Denmark.

Rasmussen met with the Dalai Lama at his official residence, saying he was
meeting with the Tibetan as a spiritual, not a political, leader.

Prior to the visit, Rasmussen responded to a protest about the meeting from
the Chinese Embassy by underscoring that the meeting did not signal a change
in Danish policy that Tibet is a Chinese province.
He also pointed out that his predecessor, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, had met
with the Dalai Lama at prime minister’s official residence in 2003. In 2000,
then-Social Democrat Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen held a meeting with
him at Copenhagen Airport. Nyrup Rasmussen previously refused a meeting in

Beijing urged Denmark to ‘take concrete actions to correct its wrongdoings’.

Danish legislators from across the political spectrum rejected the Chinese
criticism. Villy Søvndal, leader of the Socialist People’s Party, called the
protest ‘absurd’.

In Copenhagen, a city councillor representing the Danish People’s Party
proposed that the City Council follow in the steps of Warsaw, Poland, and
make the Dalai Lama an honorary citizen.

Former Social Democrat leader Mogens Lykketoft, who also served as Foreign
Minister and has written a book about China, told TV2 News that the protests
would have no lasting consequences. He instead suggested that it would be
‘incredibly useful if Chinese leaders met with him [the Dalai Lama] instead
of issuing bombastic declarations about why no-one should meet with him’.

Many of the largest Danish companies have invested heavily in China in
recent years, and the meeting could harm those interests, according to
Clemens Stubbe Østergaard, a professor of international politics with the
University of Aarhus.

He pointed that China is in a stronger position than it was in 2003 and
predicted Denmark would issue an apology similar to the one issued by France
last year after President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama met last year.
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