Dalai Lama has ‘nothing to ask’ Danish politicians

Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt's failure to follow through on a promise to meet with the Dalai Lama has caused her political headaches, but the Tibetan spiritual leader told the media he understood the decision.

Dalai Lama has 'nothing to ask' Danish politicians
The Dalai Lama is in Copenhagen for a two-day seminar. Photo: Claus Bech/Scanpix
The Dalai Lama said Wednesday that the Danish government's reluctance to meet him during a visit to Denmark was "logical" since his retirement meant he had "nothing to ask" politicians.
"I think it's quite logical. I have no political responsibility so even if I met some political leaders I have nothing to ask," the exiled spiritual leader — who retired from politics in 2011 — said at a press conference in Copenhagen.
Denmark's relationship with China was strained after former Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen held a meeting — described as private, not official — with the Dalai Lama in 2009.
Bilateral ministerial meetings were cancelled, and relations only warmed after Copenhagen sent a diplomatic note to Beijing saying Demark was "fully aware of the importance and sensitivity of Tibet-related issues and attaches great importance to the view of the Chinese government."
China considers Tibet an integral part of its territory, and regards the Dalai Lama as a separatist.
The Dalai Lama said the lack of a free media was a major obstacle to China becoming a democratic nation, and that censorship fomented Chinese people's "suspicion" of other countries.
"The free world has [a] responsibility to bring China into the mainstream of world democracy. Chinese people also want that," he said.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate said that once the Chinese people "know the reality, they also have the ability to judge what is right or what is wrong." 
"Whenever you have the opportunity, visit China and meet more people. And also if there is some kind of possibility, bring some Chinese media people, some Chinese intellectuals here," he said.
The Dalai Lama arrived in Copenhagen on Tuesday after being invited by a group of Tibetan-Buddhist organisations.
Observers say China's growing clout on the world stage has made international government leaders increasingly reluctant to meet with him.
A summit of Nobel peace laureates in Cape Town was cancelled in October after several pulled out in protest at the South African government's failure to give the Dalai Lama a visa.
In May, the Norwegian government came under fire for declining to meet with him in a controversial decision aimed at warming up icy relations with China, which froze high-level contacts with Oslo after Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.
Last week China reiterated that is was opposed to foreign countries receiving the Dalai Lama, one day after US President Barack Obama held a symbolic first public encounter with him.

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China derides Copenhagen democracy meet as ‘political farce’

China on Tuesday blasted a democracy conference in Copenhagen attended by Taiwan's president and a Hong Kong activist alongside Danish government officials this week, qualifying it a "political farce".

China derides Copenhagen democracy meet as 'political farce'
Demonstrators gathered outside the Copenhagen Democracy Summit on Tuesday. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The Copenhagen Democracy Summit was held Monday and Tuesday in the Danish capital and organised by the Alliance of Democracies, an organisation targeted by Beijing sanctions in March and founded by former NATO boss Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

In addition to Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law, Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod also participated in the forum by video link, which Beijing said violated “the one-China principle.”

“This summit is a political farce,” the Chinese embassy in Denmark wrote in a statement published on Tuesday. “Inviting those who advocate Taiwan and Hong Kong ‘independence’ to the meeting violates the one-China principle and interferes in China’s internal affairs,” it said.

“Some hypocritical western politicians are good at meddling in other countries’ internal affairs and creating divisions and confrontation in the name of ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’. They are bound to fail,” it added.

At the conference on Monday, Kofod said it was “deplorable” that Beijing had imposed sanctions on 10 European individuals and organisations in response to EU sanctions on Xinjiang officials over their actions against the Uyghur Muslim minority.

Like most countries, Denmark applies the one-China principle — under which Beijing bars other countries from having simultaneous diplomatic relations with Taipei — though it does maintain relations with Taiwan.

Cut off politically from the rest of China since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the territory is self-governing but is not recognised by
the United Nations.

Beijing considers Taiwan a rebel province that will one day return under its control, by force if necessary.

China’s sabre-rattling has increased considerably over the past year, with fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers breaching Taiwan’s air defence zone on a near-daily basis.

“Our government is fully aware of the threats to regional security, and is actively enhancing our national defence capabilities to protect our
democracy,” Tsai told the conference in a video address on Monday. US President Joe Biden is expected to present his China strategy soon, as
calls mount for him to publicly commit to defending Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese attack.