In much of the world, President Nicolas Sarkozy enjoys a reputation for being something of a diplomatic dynamo. But Sarkozy and France get ignored, maligned, lectured and insulted often and loudly from one voice in Asia…..In China, the energetic French leader has a strikingly different standing than the one he enjoys almost everywhere else. In China, Sarkozy (and France) is the favorite international whipping boy……
By Bruce Crumley
The latest humiliation comes with Beijing’s decision to boycott the 11th annual China-European Union summit, which has been scheduled to open in Lyon today. China stunned E.U. officials last week by announcing that its delegation of more than 150 political and business leaders would stay at home because, in the words of China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, “the summit cannot be held in a sound atmosphere, nor can it achieve expected goals.” The reason? The French President’s plan to meet with Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on December 6 as part of an event honoring fellow Nobel peace prize winner Solidarity leader Lech Walesa in Poland.
“China firmly opposes any contacts with the Dalai Lama by foreign leaders in whatever form,” Qin said in a statement released by the state-run Xinhua news agency. “We hope that France could fulfill its commitments, and properly deal with China’s major concerns in earnest so as to create conditions for the steady development of bilateral relations.”
Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama greets the audience before delivering a speech in Prague November 30, 2008.(David W Cerny/Reuters)