Sunday, August 31, 2008

Chinese ambassador admits asking Costa Rica not to allow Dalai Lama visit

(Inside Costa Rica) - The government of China has admitted that it has asked countries with friendly ties to it not accept the visit of the Dalai Lama, like it occurred in Costa Rica.

"We are against the Dalai Lama realizing international political activities around the world. For such we always ask those governments where the Dalai Lama will visit", said China's ambassador to Costa Rica, Wang Xiaoyuank, to the daily La Nacion.

The Chinese ambassador added that the Tibetan spiritual leader is not only a religious person but a political one as well and is always spearheading campaigns to separate Tibet from China.

The Dalai Lama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, was to have visited Costa Rica on September 10 on an invitation by the Tibetan-Costa Rican Cultural Association.

The Dalai Lama cancelled his visit at the suggestion of Costa Rican president and fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner, Oscar Arias, suggesting the trip be postponed for next year when a meeting of Nobel Prize winners will be held in Costa Rica.

Arias drew criticism at the request amid allegations that the decision was in preference of the visit of the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, in October.

Arias denied the accusation.

According to Maritza Pacheco, president of the Tibetan-Costa Rican Cultural Association, assures that Arias called her by telephone on August 22 to ask her to cancel the invitation to the Tibetan leader.

"What he said to me exactly was that if the Dalai Lama comes, Hu will not come and that is not convenient for Costa Rica at this time", said Maritza.

Costa Rica established diplomatic relations with China in June of 2007, abruptly cutting all diplomatic ties with the government of Taiwan.

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