Way to go, Angie

Beijing Calls in German Envoy over Dalai Lama's Visit to Merkel

Fri Sep 14, 3:19 PM ET


China has summoned Germany's ambassador in Beijing to discuss Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to grant the Dalai Lama an unprecedented meeting this month, the German foreign ministry said Friday.

A spokesman confirmed a report due to appear in Monday's edition of the Handelsblatt business daily that ambassador Michael Schaefer has been called to a meeting with Chinese authorities.

The German government's chief spokesman, Ulrich Wilhelm, announced earlier on Friday that Merkel will receive Tibet's exiled spiritual leader at the chancellery in Berlin on September 23.

It will mark the first time that the Dalai Lama has been received there, he told reporters.

Asked if the visit would offend China, which Merkel visited in August, Wilhelm had said Beijing was aware of Berlin's position on Tibet.

"Human rights issues related to Tibet is an issue that we always bring up with the Chinese side, especially during the bilateral German-Chinese human rights dialogue but also in the EU-China human rights talks," he said.

The Handelsblatt report also states that China has repeatedly pressed Germany to refuse the Dalai Lama permission to enter the country, but that Berlin has rejected the demand.

The Dalai Lama, whose worldly name is Tenzin Gyatso, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his non-violent campaign against Chinese rule in Tibet.

He makes frequent visits to Europe to promote the cause of Tibet, but in recent years has backed off from pushing for Tibetan independence, campaigning instead for the Himalayan region to have "genuine autonomy".

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