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All-party delegation to meet Dalai Lama

April 17, 2008

Spokesman for Beijing's embassy warns that group of MPs and senators
risks undermining Chinese-Canadian relations with Michigan trip

BILL CURRY
The Globe and Mail
April 16, 2008

OTTAWA -- A group of MPs and senators will meet the Dalai Lama on Friday
at the University of Michigan - including one of the most public critics
of China in the Conservative caucus.

Rob Anders, a Calgary MP who is taking part in the trip, crashed a
Chinese New Year's event on Parliament Hill eight years ago wearing a
Free Tibet T-shirt.

When the Dalai Lama came to Ottawa in 2004, Mr. Anders was one of the
first parliamentarians to greet him.

But the trip by the Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Tibet and Mr.
Anders's participation comes at a particularly sensitive time. The
Chinese embassy in Ottawa has increased its criticism of the Dalai Lama,
while Chinese treatment of the Dalai Lama's supporters in Tibet is
attracting worldwide attention heading into the 2008 Olympics.

Yuzhen Tian, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Canada, warned
yesterday that MPs and senators would be undermining Chinese-Canadian
relations if they support "anti-China separatist forces."

"They should refrain from doing things that hurt the feelings of the
Chinese people and undermine bilateral relations," he said.

Mr. Tian repeated China's assertion that the Dalai Lama is a political
exile seeking to undermine China's national unity.

When asked about the participation of Mr. Anders in the trip, Mr. Tian
said, "We are opposed to any person to use the Tibet issue to interfere
in China's internal affairs and undermine China-Canada relations."

Mr. Anders was travelling yesterday and could not be reached. But in the
Commons, Conservatives continued to raise issues of human rights in China.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has been criticizing Ontario provincial
Liberals of late, accusing them of not doing enough to raise human
rights during a recent trip to China.

"This government is interested in promoting human rights and we continue
to encourage dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama
and the full respect of all human rights," Mr. Nicholson said yesterday
in response to a question from a Conservative MP.

Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier was not in the House yesterday,
but his office noted the trip to the Ann Arbor university is not being
organized by the government and members of all political parties are going.

In addition to Mr. Anders, the delegation will include Conservative
Senator Consiglio Di Nino, Liberal MP Ken Boshcoff, Liberal Senator
Mobina Jaffer, Bloc Québécois MP Diane Bourgeois and Ontario provincial
New Democrat Cheri DiNovo. NDP MP Peggy Nash is also scheduled to
attend, but is expected to decline due to a personal matter.

Mr. Boshcoff said yesterday the trip is to encourage understanding.

"The Dalai Lama has always said that he is not against China. And I
think we really need to make that understood," he said. "If their goal
is self-identity as a nation, I mean, right here in Canada we have a
very similar question and we manage to get along quite well."
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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