(TibetanReview.net, Feb11, 2015) – Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has been severely criticized Feb 9 by both the opposition and a coalition partner for declining a meeting with the visiting Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. They have pointed out that before coming to power, Thorning-Schmidt had said she would “of course” meet with the Dalai Lama as prime minister.
She had made that remark in a 2007 book written by her current spin doctor Noa Redington, pointed out thelocal.dk Feb 9. Later, in 2009, she had criticized the then PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen for describing his meeting with the visiting Tibetan leader as “private”.
The Dalai Lama is visiting the Danish Capital Copenhagen over Feb 10-13 for a series of events which include religious teachings, public talks, and a meeting with lawmakers. Seven organizations and companies are hosting his visit.
Political figures on both the right and left have criticized Thorning-Schmidt’s about-turn on the issue of meeting with the Dalai Lama. Venstre’s Søren Pind called the failure to meet “a broken promise” while Nikolaj Villumsen from the left-wing Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) called her decision “deeply embarrassing and hypocritical”, noted the thelocal.dk report.
And Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard has also been criticised for failing to meet with the Tibetan leader by members of his own political party, calling it “reprehensible” and “frustrating”, the report added.
Before 2009, two more Danish prime ministers had met with the Dalai Lama: Poul Nyrup Rasmussen in 2000 and Anders Fogh Rasmuseen in 2003.
The current Danish government is working hard to strengthen economic and cultural ties with China. Thorning-Schmidt visited China in Sep 2014 to promote business relations between the two countries, while Culture Minister Marianne Jelved visited it in Nov 2014 as part of the “largest Danish cultural effort in China to date”.