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Paris mayor stands by the Dalai Lama on its honorary citizen award

May 14, 2009

By Tenam
Phayul
May 13, 2009

Paris May, 12 -- The Socialist mayor of Paris,
Bertrand Delanoë, has said he stands by his view
about the Citizen of Honour that was voted by the
city of Paris to be conferred on Tibetan leader
the Dalai Lama in April 2008. The Paris Mayor was
quoted by La Croix, a French paper, as saying
Monday that it "is not an interference in China’s internal affairs".

China warned Paris last week not to make more
"errors" on Tibet by honouring the Dalai Lama
with its honorary citizenship when he visits the city in June.

"If the Paris city government does make this
award, it will definitely meet once again with
the Chinese people's firm opposition," AFP
reported foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu as
saying during a regular news briefing in Beijing last week.

"We urge the Paris side to stop doing things that
interfere in China's internal affairs and make no
further errors on the Tibet-related issue."

As the Office of Tibet here announced the visit
of the Tibetan leader early this month, media
speculation has grown about the Dalai Lama receiving the Citizen of Honour.

Delanoe said the issue is not about interference
and neither is it about giving up on his
convictions to support democracy, peace and
Tibetan people's right to freedom. Yet, he said,
he is not trying to provoke the chinese by
honouring the Dalai Lama, which is basically a
decision voted upon and passed by the Paris city
council last year. "There is no question of
interfering (into Chinese affairs)," he added.

"I received the Dalai Lama a few years ago... As
the Mayor, I accept the vote of the elected
representatives of Paris to give honorary
citizenship to the Dalai Lama. When I shall
convey it, I do not know", Delanoe added.

The Mayor while proposing the resolution at the
city council in 2008 said that this is city's
"homage to a person of peace" and "fraternal
support to Tibetan people who are fighting for
their fundamental rights, their dignity, their freedom; and simply their life".

Tibetans are fighting "an unequal fight to
preserve their cultural and spiritual identity,
and its their existence as a people that they
want to affirm. In this fight, Paris is in solidarity," the Mayor added.

Since 2001, Paris has conferred its Citizen of
Honour on Mumia Abou Jamal (2001), Ingrid
Betancourt (2002), Iouri Bandajevski (2003), Aung
San Suu Kyi (2004) and, Hauwa Ibrahim (2005).

The Dalai Lama will be will be visiting Denmark,
Iceland and the Netherlands before his Paris
visit on June 7 and 8. He is scheduled to give a
public talk on 'Ethics and Society' at Bercy
Stadium, Paris, on June 7 before returning to India.

Sino-France relations soured considerably after
French President Nicolas Sarkozy defied stern
warning from Beijing and met with the exiled
Tibetan leader in Poland in December 2008.
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