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Concern over China's influence as Norwegian politicians say they will not meet with Dalai Lama

Norwegian PEN is concerned that the Norwegian Parliament is setting narrow business interests ahead of human rights and human dignity. We deeply regret that many of our leading politicians, who both previously met the Dalai Lama and supported the Tibetan struggle for human rights, are now allowing pragmatic concerns to overshadow principles.

Norway has long played an important role when it comes to international peace and reconciliation work and rendered significant contributions to the promotion of human rights. To show respect to the Dalai Lama for his fight for freedom and for his peaceful efforts should be a question of honor, it concerns our self-respect and decency as a nation. It is by our own consistent behavior that respect for human dignity could also result in a long-term dialogue on human rights with China. It is therefore important that Norway, as a small nation, have the necessary courage and integrity to stand up to one of the largest and strongest economies in the world. Who would stand against China if not the country that awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and that, better than most other countires, can afford to bear the cost of being principled?

Norwegian PEN believes that Norway, as a country that dares to speak out, could have a positive impact in the long run, both for the peace prize, business relations, international peace efforts and general relations with China - but first and foremost for freedom of expression and other human rights.

Subsequently, the Board of Norwegian PEN strongly urges the Norwegian government to meet the Dalai Lama during his visit to Norway in May 2014.

28 April 2014


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