Wednesday, November 26, 2008

China calls off EU summit over Dalai Lama visit

As we get ready for the great turkey massacre of '08, it should be remembered that across the globe, many things are still happening. Thousands of children are still dying in Africa everyday because they do not have clean water or food, and tribal people are stilling being pushed out of their home and land and into the mass insanity our civilized cultures call "progress". I feel that one of the most significant stories being played out right now is the plight of the Tibetan people. China, the worlds greatest economic player perhaps, is trying to assimilate this beautiful and ancient culture, and is now beginning what looks like a larger scale effort to bully the rest of the world into playing by their rules. The Tibetan culture and land must be preserved and protected; they may have the key to a more peaceful world. Read on for more information. Free Tibet!

China calls off EU summit over Dalai Lama visit
Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:27am EST
By Darren Ennis and David Brunnstrom

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - China, angry at plans for Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to visit Europe, has called off a summit with the European Union next Monday which may have forged a joint response to the global economic crisis.

The 27-nation bloc expressed regret at Beijing's decision but pledged to continue to promote a strategic partnership "at a time when the global economic and financial situation calls for very close cooperation between Europe and China."

France confirmed President Nicolas Sarkozy would meet the Dalai Lama at a December 6 ceremony in Poland to mark the 25th anniversary of the award of the Nobel Prize to former Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, despite Beijing's displeasure.

"Nicolas Sarkozy ... is free to decide his agenda," government spokesman Luc Chatel told reporters.

China's foreign ministry had no immediate comment. But earlier this month it warned Sarkozy, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, that the EU risked losing "hard-won" gains in ties with Beijing if he met the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in the mountainous region, occupied by Chinese troops from 1950. China calls him a "splittist" for advocating self-determination for his homeland.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, the head of euro zone finance ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker, and EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia had been due to meet Chinese counterparts on the sidelines of the Lyon summit to discuss the global crisis.

The European Council on Foreign Relations,a think-tank, said the meeting should have been used to forge a partnership on the crisis.

Its Asia director Francois Godement called the Chinese move "unprecedented" and "aggressive" and said it exposed the EU's failure to coordinate policy toward Tibet and the Dalai Lama.


"The sorry spectacle of European disunity over the financial and economic crisis has confirmed to China's leaders that Europe is not a unitary actor and can be publicly provoked at no significant political cost," he said.

"It is urgent for Europeans to realize the steep political price for their failure to agree on common principles and practice for their China policy."

It was not immediately clear what commercial fallout, if any, there would be from the row.

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