Government snubs Dalai Lama
When the Dalai Lama comes to Denmark in February, the Danish government will not be rolling out the red carpet for him as it has no plans to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader.
The government is being criticized for not setting up a meeting, even though prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt promised she would meet the leader before she rose to her current position, reports Jyllands-Posten.
Liberal Party’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Søren Pind, told the newspaper this was “a breach of faith”, while Unity MP Nikolaj Villumsen used words like “limp” and “embarrassing” to describe the situation.
On the Dalai Lama’s last visit in May 2009, Helle Thorning-Schmidt criticized then prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen for calling his meeting with the leader a private visit.
“He should meet with the Dalai Lama as prime minister, as previous prime ministers had done before,” she told DR at the time.
Trouble in the ranks
The criticism is also creating trouble for foreign minister Martin Lidegaard who is facing reproach from within his own Radikale Venstre party.
“It is reprehensible that it [the government] will not meet the Dalai Lama as a religious leader who received the Nobel Peace Prize," Gustav Sieg Sørensen, a member of Radikale Venstre’s party executive, told Jyllands-Posten.
Lidegaard says he is “sorry” for the internal criticism. He emphasizes that Denmark considers Tibet to be a part of China and that the best way to promote human rights in China is through “ongoing critical dialogue” with the country, reports Jyllands-Posten.
He adds that “the Dalai Lama has not asked for any meeting”.
The Dalai Lama will be making his eighth visit to Denmark on February 11 and 12. Thorning-Schmidt has yet to comment on the visit.