China vents anger over Dalai Lama's planned Norway visit

BEIJING/OSLO Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:50am EST

Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama (C) arrives at Narita international airport in Narita, east of Tokyo, in this photo taken by Kyodo November 15, 2013. REUTERS/Kyodo

Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama (C) arrives at Narita international airport in Narita, east of Tokyo, in this photo taken by Kyodo November 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kyodo

BEIJING/OSLO (Reuters) - China's Foreign Ministry expressed anger on Friday at plans by the Dalai Lama to visit Norway, a country with which China already has strained ties following the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to prominent Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

"China resolutely opposes any country receiving the Dalai Lama. China resolutely opposes any form of official meetings with the Dalai Lama by government officials of other countries," ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.

"We hope that the related parties will effectively respect China's core concerns, take practical efforts and make effective actions to improve relations," she added, in response to a question about the Dalai Lama's Norway trip.

Geir Lundestad, the secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, told Reuters that the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader would be coming to Norway in May, but that he was coming at the invitation of local Buddhist groups, not the Nobel Committee.

Still, Lundestad said they have expressed a wish to meet with him.

"We expect to contact him, but it's not our initiative. He comes to Norway occasionally, but next year will also be the 25th anniversary of his Nobel peace prize and we, of course, expressed an interest to meet with him, but the initiative is with the Buddhist group," he said.

In 2010, Norway's diplomatic relations with China were frozen after the Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu, a veteran of the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Beijing which the government brutally crushed.

China cancelled meetings with Norwegian officials and denied visas to visiting dignitaries, even though Norway's government says it has no influence over the Nobel Committee.

China calls the Dalai Lama a "wolf in sheep's clothing" who seeks to use violent methods to establish an independent Tibet.

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India after a failed uprising in 1959, maintains he only wants genuine autonomy for Tibet and denies advocating violence.

China has long defended its iron-fisted rule in Tibet, saying the region suffered from dire poverty, brutal exploitation and economic stagnation until 1950, when Communist troops "peacefully liberated" Tibet.

Tensions in China's Tibetan regions are at their highest in years after a spate of self-immolation protests by Tibetans, which have led to an intensified security crackdown.

(Reporting by Joseph Campbell and Adam Rose in BEIJING and Nerijus Adomaitis in OSLO; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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Comments (6)
Free_Pacific wrote:
China invades a foreign, sovereign nation, occupies it, then get angry at everyone else.

Dec 20, 2013 6:42am EST  --  Report as abuse
MichaelLeeNYC wrote:
The Norwegian government should acknowledge responsibility for any biased shown in the awards given by its Norwegian Nobel Committee, whose five members are appointed by the Norwegian Parliament.

Its continuing stand of alleged disconnect from the Committee is transparently silly and shows cowardice.

Dec 20, 2013 8:14am EST  --  Report as abuse
Kailim wrote:
Tibet was not a sovereign nation in 1950 when PLA has begun to garrison there after defeating the local KMT supported warlord.

Dec 20, 2013 12:47pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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