China Protests Dalai Lama Medal Award

China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi summoned US Ambassador Clark Randt to make an official protest against the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama. Geoge Bush is the first sitting president to meet the exiled Tibetan leader. Jiechi argued talking with or giving awards to the Dalai Lama is interference in the internal affairs of China. He regards the Dalai Lama as a “secessionist” who uses religion to mask his political goals.

The Dalai Lama is more than a Tibetan because his exile has made him an international figure who has become involved in dealing with human rights issues throughout the world. Most probably, he will never return to his beloved Tibet and neither will the people of that country soon gain their independence. For many people, the caring and love and lack of anger so characteristic of the Dalai Lama is an inspiration.

I am somewhat confused about the Bush visit even though I think it was a wonderful gesture. President Bush has been complaining for weeks about the Democratic Party insulting our dear ally and friend, Turkey, by passing the Armenian genocide resolution, but he believes it is OK to insult China. Is the president once again demonstrating the incoherence of his foreign policy?