Of­fi­cials con­test Dalai Lama’s Mi­lan visit

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

The Chi­nese Em­bassy in Rome has strongly protested plans by Mi­lan city coun­cil to be­stow honorary cit­i­zen­ship Thurs­day on the Dalai Lama, say­ing it would have a neg­a­tive im­pact on bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and re­gional co­op­er­a­tion.

The em­bassy said in a state­ment that hon­or­ing the Dalai Lama “has se­ri­ously wounded the feel­ings of the Chi­nese peo­ple” and ex­pressed its “strong protest and firm op­po­si­tion.”

Protests were ex­pected at the Univer­sity of Mi­lan-Bic­occa, where the Dalai Lama was sched­uled to speak to stu­dents and where of­fi­cials plan to give him a key to the city. He also was meet­ing with Mi­lan Car­di­nal An­gelo Scola on the first day of a three-day visit that in­cludes a se­ries of spir­i­tual talks.

China ac­cuses the Dalai Lama of lead­ing a cam­paign to split Ti­bet from the rest of China. The Dalai Lama says he sim­ply wants a higher de­gree of au­ton­omy un­der Chi­nese rule.

He said in an in­ter­view with the Ital­ian daily La Repub­blica that the cli­mate in Ti­bet “re­mains ex­tremely grim and re­pres­sive, char­ac­ter­ized by con­stant con­trols of Ti­betans, who are de­nied many ba­sic hu­man rights.”

“Whether they ad­mit it or not, Ti­bet re­mains a thorn for China, which wants to play an im­por­tant role in the world,” he was quoted as say­ing.

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