(TibetanReview.net, Apr30, 2014) – Shunned by China after the Nobel Committee awarded the 2010 peace prize on jailed democracy activist Liu Xiaobo, Norway may have snaked its way back into the good book of China by deciding to ignore the visiting 1989 peace Prize winner, the Dalai Lama. China has long demanded that Oslo correct its alleged 2010 mistake to regain normal bilateral relations even though the government has no role in determining the prize winner.
Now, with the President of the country’s parliament, long a Tibet supporter previously, as well as the Prime Minister Erna Solberg and the Foreign Minister Børge Brende having explicitly ruled out any meeting with the Dalai Lama, when the latter comes calling in Oslo on May 7, China has indicated approval of the country’s “new position”.
“If you say that the Norwegian government previously viewed the Dalai Lama as a good friend, then I can tell you that this policy was wrong. We have noted the Norwegian government’s recent new position,” Reuters Apr 28 quoted Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang as saying at a daily news briefing in Beijing.
Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who is routinely vilified by China despite his decades long reiteration of his willingness to accept Chinese rule in exchange for the protection of his homeland’s culture and identity, is visiting Oslo from May 7 to 9 at the invitation of civil society groups and will celebrate the 25th anniversary of his Nobel Peace Prize.
Although he will not shake hands with top government officials and the parliament head, he will be visiting parliament to meet with lawmakers, especially the members of its Tibet Committee. Also, several other leaders of political parties in Norway and Members of Parliament will meet with the Dalai Lama, said the Reuters report.
China has at least twice condemned the upcoming visit by the Dalai Lama, saying it was opposed to any country giving a platform to his views. During his Apr 28 news briefing Qin said Norway “ought to conscientiously deal with China’s core concerns and take real steps to correct their mistakes to create beneficial conditions to improving and developing relations.”
However, his approval of Norway’s decision to ignore the visiting Dalai Lama was a guarded one. “If you say that they made a mistake in the past, and can now change it, that is worth encouragement and approval,” Reuters quoted Qin as saying.
Brende was earlier quoted as having told newspaper Aftenposten, “We must avoid making relations between Norway and China even worse.” He had also told parliament that the country was in an “extraordinary situation” because there had been “no real political contact” between Norway and China for several years.
Norway’s Media commentators as well as political opposition and civil society groups have accused the Norwegian government of failing to maintain their principles on Tibet.