The Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit the Netherlands in June. Henk Jan Ormel, president of the parliamentarian foreign affairs committee, received a letter from ambassador Zhang Jun some time ago. Zhang reportedly told Ormel that
“… it is against my wish to see that our good relationship would be hijacked by dalai and the image of the Dutch parliament be tarnished by his visit.“
Also reportedly, the ambassador is surprised that his letter to Ormel has been made public. Why is he surprised? He has worked in the Netherlands for a year now. He should understand that elected politicians are accountable to the public (although they don’t always take their duties in that respect serious enough). Their duty to account to their people comes before accounting to an ambassador. If an “excellent relationship” (described as such by Zhang) between the Netherlands and China is expected to come at the price of taking orders from Beijing, let the relations deteriorate.
It’s up to Beijing to earn itself respect, or ridicule itself with statements like these:
“My country has a long history of foreign invasions, occupations and colonial domination. Its territorial integrity is still being threatened. We have no choice but to stand up for our national unity with all means. We have no wish to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, but we hope that other countries in turn will not interfere with internal affairs in China.”
A visit by the Dalai Lama is no interference with Chinese internal affairs. If such a visit to the Netherland can endanger China’s territorial integrity, something must be rotten in China.
That should be food for thought. But it is nothing that should keep our politicians from meeting the Dalai Lama.