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China warns honor for Dalai Lama will hurt ties

June 10, 2009

BEIJING 9 Jun 2009 (AP) - China expressed its indignation Tuesday at an
honor given to the Dalai Lama by the city of Paris, saying it would
seriously harm Beijing's relations with France.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe conferred a certificate of honorary citizenship
on the Tibetan spiritual leader at a ceremony Sunday in Paris' gilded City
Hall. Paris' city council voted last year to make the Dalai Lama an honorary
citizen of the city.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular news conference that the
move was a "gross provocation against the Chinese people ... and greatly
undermines China-France relations."

France accuses the Dalai Lama of trying to separate Tibet from the rest of
China, and objects to all meetings between the Dalai Lama and foreign
leaders.

Qin said China expressed its "strong dissatisfaction" with the honor and
urged Paris "correct its wrongdoing" and stop interfering in China's
internal affairs. He did not say what sort of actions China may take in
response.

China put relations with France in a deep freeze for months following a
meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama in
December. It suspended high-level contacts and shut France out of lucrative
European buying trips by Chinese delegations.
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