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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?"

China warns President Sarkozy over meeting with Dalai Lama

November 15, 2008

By Phurbu Thinley
Phayul
November 14, 2008

Dharamsala, Nov, 14 -- China on Friday warned French president
Nicolas Sarkozy that his country risks "hard-earned" gains in ties
with Beijing if he meets the Dalai Lama.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said his government
resolutely opposes foreign leaders engaging in any form of contact
with Tibet's exiled leader the Dalai Lama, whom it calls a separatist
for advocating self-determination for his homeland.

"We resolutely oppose Dalai's engagement in separatist activities in
other countries in whatever capacity as well as foreign leaders'
contact with Dalai in whatever form," the Chinese government spokesman said.

"At present, China's relations with both France and the EU are
improving and developing. This hard-earned situation should be
cherished," Qin said.

He urged France to seriously pay attention to "China's major concern"
and "properly handle relevant issues" in order to have the stable
development of China-France and China-EU relations.

In the statement, Qin suggests Sarkozy's proposed meeting with the
exiled Tibetan leader could damage the "overall interest of bilateral
relations" of the two countries.

China's warning was issued on the Chinese Foreign Ministry website
(www.fmprc.gov.cn) a day after President Sarkozy said he would hold a
long-awaited meeting with the Dalai Lama in Poland on December 6.

"The Tibetans should not be subjected to repression and, like
everyone else, they have a right to freedom," Mr Sarkozy said on
Thursday at the Elysee palace while announcing his decision to meet
the Tibetan leader next month.

China's warning comes a day before the two powers join a financial
summit. Sarkozy and Hu will both attend a summit on the global
financial crisis on Washington on Saturday, and the French leader has
looked to China to back his proposals to revamp global financial rules.

The French president drew China's ire earlier in the year after
Sarkozy threatened to boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympic
Games unless Beijing showed progress in talks on Tibet.

But Mr Sarkozy declined a meeting with the Dalai Lama during his
visit to France in August supposedly after Beijing warned that such
direct contact would have serious consequences for bilateral relations.
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