China Postpones Summit with EU over Dalai Lama | Europe | News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 26.11.2008

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China Postpones Summit with EU over Dalai Lama

China has decided not to send representatives to Europe next month to protest scheduled meetings between EU heads of state meeting and the Tibetan spiritual leader. Things are tense between Beijing and Brussels.

The Dalai Lama greets supporters as he leaves a Paris hotel

The Dalai Lama also visited Europe this summer -- Beijing was not amused

China's non-attendance at the summit was announced by the EU in a statement on Wednesday, Nov. 26.

"The Chinese authorities have informed the European Union of their decision to request the postponement of the 11th European Union-China summit, scheduled to take place on Dec. 1," the statement said.

"They said their decision was due to the fact that the Dalai Lama will at the same time undertake a new visit in several countries of the Union and will meet on this occasion heads of state and government."

The Tibetan spiritual leader will be visiting a number of EU countries in December. At one major event, he is scheduled to meet with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Poland at ceremonies commemorating the 25th anniversary of Polish labor leader Lech Walesa being given the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Dalai Lama also won the prize in 1989.

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of agitating for Tibetan independence from China. The spiritual leader says he seeks only "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet, which has been ruled by China since 1950.

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile since 1959.

Brussels said it was disappointed by Beijing's decision to postpone the summit.

"The European Union, which set ambitious aims for the 11th European Union-China summit, takes note and regrets this decision by China," the bloc said in its statement.

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