The Danish government is reconsidering its position on the Tibetan question following criticism that its statement made last December was too strong.
Exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama (R), walks hand in hand with Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen (L) during a visit at Marienborg, the official residence of the prime minister in May 2009. (AFP/SCANPIX/File/Jens Norgaard Larsen)
The diplomatic relations between Denmark and China were suspended in late 2009 after the Chinese became irked at the reception of the Dalai Lama by Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen at the official government residence of Marienborg. Subsequent Chinese pressure in the lead-up to the COP15 summit in Copenhagen led to Danish authorities making a statement ‘against Tibetan independence
However, a new report by Politiken
(a Danish daily) reveals that a proposal by Conservative Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller suggests that Parliament advocate dialogue “that ensures the Tibetans real autonomy within the framework of the Chinese constitution, with cultural and religious freedom and respect for human rights”.
According to the Copenhagen Business School’s China Expert Kjed Erik Brodsgaard, the decision “is a clear softening of the very pronounced formulation in December. It was a very strong wording, and one could ask whether it was necessary to go that far.”
The December statement has drawn widespread condemnation
from both the governing Danish People’s Party and the opposition Red-Green Alliance. The former has declared that the statement was merely aimed at pacifying Chinese diplomatic relations in the lead-up to COP15.
“The climate conference is now over and we can see that there was no result from bowing to China. The parties that signed must have a bad taste in their mouths,” said party member Soren Espersen. The government has denied that any new formulation would changes its December statement, as it clearly believes that Tibetan autonomy must occur under the governance of the Chinese constitution.