11/02/2007, 00.00
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Beijing: “serious repercussions” if the Dalai Lama meets the Pope

The Buddhist leader is due in Rome on December 13th next. Despite having no diplomatic relations with the Holy See, the Chinese Foreign Minister warns that bilateral relations will be seriously damaged should the meeting between Benedict XVI and the Dalai Lama go ahead.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Chinese government yesterday warned the Vatican of “serious repercussions” to bilateral relations if the Pope meets with the Dalai Lama, who is due in Rome on December 13th.  Currently there are no diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Beijing.

Liu Jianchao, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Minister, said: “We hope the Vatican will not do anything to hurt the Chinese people’s feelings and will show sincerity to improve relations with China by taking concrete actions”.

Beijing has always maintained that the Dalia Lama is not a religious leader, but a dangerous separatist who is seeking independence for Tibet, invaded by Chinese troops in 1950.  In this light, the Chinese government has condemned recent meetings between the Tibetan leader and political leaders from the United States, Canada and Germany within the last 12 months.

Moreover the American government has recently conferred the Dalai Lama the Congress Gold Medal award, the nation’s highest honour.  In response, Liu said that “those countries, who decide to deal with the Tibetan separatists, tarnished their own image”.


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