China opposes proposed Norway visit by Dalai Lama

China’s Foreign Ministry has expressed anger at plans by the Dalai Lama to visit Norway, a country with which China already has strained ties following the awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to prominent Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

‘China resolutely opposes any country receiving the Dalai Lama. China resolutely opposes any form of official meetings with the Dalai Lama by government officials of other countries,’ ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a local news briefing.

Geir Lundestad, the secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said that the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader would be coming to Norway in May, but that he was coming at the invitation of local Buddhist groups, not the Nobel Committee. Still, Lundestad said they have expressed a wish to meet with him, as ‘next year will also be the 25th anniversary of his Nobel peace prize.’

In 2010, Norway’s diplomatic relations with China were frozen after the Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu, a veteran of the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Beijing which the government brutally crushed.

China has long defended its iron-fisted rule in Tibet, saying the region suffered from dire poverty, brutal exploitation and economic stagnation until 1950, when Communist troops ‘peacefully liberated’ Tibet.

Tensions in China’s Tibetan regions are at their highest in years after a spate of self-immolation protests by Tibetans, which have led to an intensified security crackdown.