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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

French leader's planned meeting with Dalai Lama sparks backlash in China

December 7, 2008

BEIJING, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to meet with the Dalai Lama sparked a new round of online anger towards France.
 
Sarkozy was due to meet the Dalai Lama on Saturday afternoon at a gathering of Nobel Peace Prize laureates in Poland.
 
"The Tibet issue touches on China's core interests. Anyone crossing that line will have to pay for it, and that is not something people from China and France would like to see," a Chinese netizen who identified himself as Qiu Jianming said in a forum on news.cn, a major news site.
 
Added another: "It is not the first time that France has used the Tibet issue to interfere with China's internal affairs. The disruption of the Olympic torch relay in Paris this April alone was unpleasant enough. We will not compromise one bit when it comes to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
 
Sarkozy's decision to meet the Dalai Lama earlier prompted China to put off the 11th China-European Union Summit, which had been scheduled for this week in France.
 
China had no choice but to react, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on Nov. 28 in a statement.
 
The government's decision to postpone the summit won overwhelming support from the country's online population.
 
A survey conducted on Huanqiu.com, affiliated to the People's Daily newspaper, showed about 98 percent of netizens supported the decision to postpone the summit. Out of more than 64,000 votes, only 1,325 voted "no".
 
"We should start boycotting French commodities and never travelto France," said an anonymous netizen, whose sentiments were widely echoed.
 
The online backlash is the latest in a string of rows targeting France.
 
The disruption of the Olympic torch relay in Paris this April sparked a boycott of French products and enterprises including the Carrefour retail chain, which denied claims that it supported the Dalai Lama.
 
In July, another online survey covering more than 170,000 people showed more than 89 percent of the respondents did not want Sarkozy to attend the Olympic opening ceremony. The French leader had earlier said that whether he would attend the ceremony depended on the progress of talks between the Chinese government and the private representatives of the Dalai Lama.
 
Editor: Yan
 
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