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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Merkel angers China over Tibet

September 25, 2007

Kate Connolly in Berlin
The Guardian
Monday September 24, 2007

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, went ahead with an informal
meeting with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama
yesterday, despite China cancelling a meeting between a German minister
and Chinese officials in an apparent expression of disapproval.

China had issued a warning to Berlin this week saying that if the
meeting at Ms Merkel's chancellery went ahead it was in danger of
damaging relations between the two countries, saying the Dalai Lama was
using it to further his political ambitions.

Ms Merkel ignored her advisers who told her to cancel the meeting rather
than incur the wrath of Beijing, which could damage the two countries'
thriving business relationship.

Yesterday China cancelled a meeting in Munich planned between the
justice minister, Brigitte Zypries, and Beijing officials to discuss
legal affairs. While the Chinese government said "technical reasons"
were to blame, the move was widely interpreted as a sign of tension over
Ms Merkel's decision.

In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Dalai Lama said: "What
I appreciate about Ms Merkel is her steady engagement on human rights
and religious freedom. Perhaps that's why she wants to see me, in spite
of all the pressure from China."

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