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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

University did not say sorry to China for Tibet degree

July 12, 2008

Report by Office of Tibet, London
July 10, 2008

London, 10 July -- In a letter circulated to the media, the London
Metropolitan University has confirmed that their vice-chancellor did
not say sorry to the Chinese authorities for awarding an honorary
doctorate to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  The controversy came to
the surface on Tuesday after the China Daily, a mouthpiece of the
Chinese communist government in a report headlined "London school
regrets honoring Dalai Lama" said that Mr. Brian Roper,
vice-chancellor of the university, had "recently apologized for
bestowing an honorary doctorate to the Dalai Lama after the move drew
intense criticism from a number of Chinese."

When the Office of Tibet, London, and many others drew the attention
of the Vice-Chancellor and the University to the China Daily report,
which totally contradicted the warmth with which His Holiness the
Dalai Lama was received by the LMU teaching faculty, students and
guests during the 20th May event that received positive and extensive
coverage in the British as well as the world media, they were
informed that what the vice-chancellor has said was not accurately reported.

What had actually happened is that representatives of the Chinese
Embassy here had requested for a meeting with the vice-chancellor and
during that recent meeting he had "expressed regret" at any
unhappiness that had been caused to the Chinese people by the
awarding of the honorary doctorate to His Holiness.

The statement issued to the media by the London Metropolitan University states:

"The Vice Chancellor of London Metropolitan University, Brian Roper,
recently met with representatives of the Embassy of the People's
Republic of China in the UK.

During that meeting, he expressed regret at any unhappiness that had
been caused to Chinese people by the recent award of an honorary
doctorate to the Dalai Lama. It was not the university's intention to
cause any such unhappiness.

London Metropolitan University has not and will not be apologising
for the award of an honorary doctorate to His Holiness the Dalai
Lama. Nor will we be retracting the award."

Mr. Tsering Tashi, the London-based Representative of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama said that from the LMU statement it is clear that the
vice-chancellor when approached by the representatives of the Chinese
Embassy had expressed "regrets" if the event had caused "unhappiness"
to the "Chinese people" and not expressed any regret for having
awarded the honorary doctorate to His Holiness."

Because of how the authoritarian Chinese government regularly
manipulate facts and tries to bring pressure on anything that
displeases it, the world has increasingly come to realise the
importance of differentiating the Chinese regime or government from
the Chinese people, who themselves do not enjoy genuine human rights
and free speech.

About the recent honorary doctorate award, a report in the London
Metropolitan University website www.londonmet.ac.uk states: "London
Met conferred the Doctorate on His Holiness in recognition of his
outstanding achievements in promoting peace globally as well as for
his inspirational spiritual guidance and leadership."

It may be recalled that in 2004 when the Liverpool John Moores
University awarded an Honorary Fellowship to His Holiness the Dalai
Lama, the Chinese Embassy at the time had also tried to put a lot of
pressure to have the honor withdrawn but without much success. The
university had then issued the following statement to the media:

"The University extended an invitation to His Holiness the Dalai Lama
to deliver a Roscoe Lecture several years ago. The Roscoe Lecture
series provides a forum for distinguished international guests to
speak on the subject of citizenship.

"As is the tradition at JMU, and in recognition of his Nobel peace
prize, His Holiness will be given an Honorary Fellowship ­ two yearrs
ago Joseph Rotblatt was honoured in the same way after delivering a
Roscoe Lecture.  This is an academic lecture NOT a political rally
and the University has no intention of embarrassing the Chinese government.

"It is one of the stated values of the University to "question
accepted views and to defend independence of thought" ­ thee Vice
Chancellor, Professor Michael Brown, has reassured the Chinese
Ambassador personally that a lecture of this nature is part of normal
University business and contacts between JMU and Chinese
representatives remain cordial."

Yesterday, a concerned Tibetologist from Canada emailed to the Office
of Tibet to know the truth behind the China Daily report relating the
London Metropolitan University and concluded his email with the
sentence, "I doubted if the University had made apology?"  From the
LMU statement, it is clear the university had not.

Whilst it may take some time for the current Chinese regime to have
the courage to face the truth and shun the suspicion of so-called
foreign interference, it is encouraging to note that more and more
Chinese people through better awareness and information are joining
the worldwide show of respect for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and
even supporting the Tibetan people's aspiration for genuine human
rights and freedoms, which, in practical terms, they too aspire.
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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