08 February 2010

The Dalai Lama and the oh so sensitive autocrats in Beijing

The Chinese government has 1.3-billion people to be concerned about, yet they obsess about one man. The problem is he isn't one of theirs, so they can't control him. That, however, doesn't stop them from using diplomatic muscle to attempt to control anyone who fraternizes with him.

The man is of course the Dalai Lama. His goal of autonomy for his homeland is understandably annoying to a regime that thinks Tibet is rightly part of China, particularly to a regime composed of control freaks. They express their annoyance loudly and frequently. When Prime Minister Harper welcomed the Dalai Lama to Canada in October, 2007, the Chinese accused Canada of interfering in China's internal affairs and claimed the feelings of all Chinese people had been hurt. They are currently expressing great umbrage over the Dalai Lama's visit to the U.S. later this month where he will meet with President Obama in Washington. And not only heads of state feel the wrath of the Chinese. The granting of an honorary degree to the Dalai Lama by the University of Calgary in December has resulted in the removal of the university from one of the Chinese minister of education's accredited institution lists. The man's persistent popularity in the democracies seems to drive the dictators frantic.

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