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China Warns Sarkozy Not to See Dalai Lama

July 10, 2008

By STEVEN ERLANGER
The New York Times (USA)
July 9, 2008

PARIS -- President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, who is expected to
announce on Wednesday that he will after all attend the opening
ceremonies of Beijing's Olympic Games, was warned by China on Tuesday
not to meet with the Dalai Lama in France next month.

China's ambassador to France, Kong Quan, told reporters there would
be "serious consequences" for Chinese-French relations if Mr. Sarkozy
meets the Dalai Lama, asserting that it "would be contrary to the
principle of non-interference in internal affairs."

Mr. Sarkozy has been vague on whether he will meet personally with
the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader in exile, regarded by China
as a renegade "splittist" who has advocated resistance to China's sovereignty.

China has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama and his subordinates of
instigating anti-Chinese riots in Tibet three months ago and
encouraging a boycott of the Beijing Olympics, which the Dalai Lama
has denied. Representatives of both sides recently resumed suspended
reconciliation talks.

France holds the presidency of the European Union, and Mr. Sarkozy
has said that his attendance at the Aug. 8 opening ceremonies will
depend on progress in those talks. The Dalai Lama's visit to France,
for a conference on Buddhism, comes after the opening of the Olympics.

Mr. Sarkozy is scheduled to meet President Hu Jintao of China in
Japan during the Group of 8 summit conference under way there, and
Mr. Sarkozy is expected to say that he will be in Beijing for the
opening ceremonies.

French protests in April of the Chinese crackdown on Tibetan unrest
caused fury in Beijing, creating political problems for Mr. Sarkozy
and complications for French companies, which some angry Chinese,
encouraged at first by their government, have boycotted.
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