Norway’s Leaders Snub Dalai Lama in Deference to China

The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader in exile, began a visit to Norway on Wednesday to commemorate the Nobel Peace Prize he received there 25 years ago, but the trip was overshadowed by an uproar over the government’s refusal to meet with him in deference to an increasingly assertive China, which considers the Dalai Lama an unrepentant separatist.

It was the first time that top officials in Norway, which has historically portrayed itself as a bastion of political tolerance, had snubbed the Dalai Lama, a congenial 78-year-old Buddhist theologian who spends most of his time traveling and speaking about nonviolence and human rights.

The Norwegian government announced last week that it had decided against arranging meetings between the Dalai Lama and top politicians, eliciting outrage from critics, who said leaders had capitulated to Chinese pressure. A survey in Norway conducted in April for VG, a leading newspaper, said about half of the respondents thought it would be cowardly for Norwegian leaders to avoid the Dalai Lama out of consideration for China.

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