Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Splittist Dog

"I want to meet with the public. [If leaders like U.S. President Barack Obama] are willing to meet me, I'm happy. Otherwise I don't want to create any inconvenience, that's not my purpose. There's no reason for disappointment. My main interest or commitment is promotion of human values."
"It seems that the more accusations from the Chinese government, the more popularity for me. When I visit different places, if the Chinese government remained silent, then the press may not pay much attention. When the Chinese protest, you pay more attention."
"Norway, a smaller country, you can do more. Norway, a smaller (country), can make a significant contribution. This is my view."
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama stands with chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbjorn Jagland, right, and deputy chairwoman Kaci Kullmann Five from the Nobel Peace Priz...
Dalai Lama stands with chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbjorn Jagland, right, and deputy chairwoman Kaci Kullmann Five from the Nobel Peace Prize committee, in Oslo, Wednesday May 7, 2014. Norway's decision to shun the Dalai Lama during his visit to Oslo this week has left a sour taste for a country that prides itself in being a beacon of human rights in the world. Unlike on his previous visits to Norway, no government officials will meet the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Tibetan spiritual leader, who arrived in Oslo on Wednesday for a three-day stay. (AP Photo/Heiko Junge, NTB Scanpix)

The government of Norway decided to opt for caution rather than to publicly bring notice to themselves honouring the presence in Oslo of the revered Tibetan holy man, the Dalai Lama. The concern was that China would be enraged. And enraging China would not auger well for the sale of North Sea oil to that energy-consumption Colossus. Though China represents Norway's sixth-largest trading partner, evidently Norway is so greedy for trade it doesn't much mind trading morals for money.

Its 'morals', however, come into full display at certain times against certain other countries. Take Israel, for example, whom Norway is in full throttle of slamming with a robustly sanctimonious boycott-divestment program, snubbing its former friendly relations with the Jewish state. And it is past interesting to note that Hanne Nabintu Herland, a noted Norwegian author and historian of religion had this to say about her country:
"The degree of anti-Israelism in Norway today on the state level, in the media, in the trade unions and at the universities, colleges and schools is unprecedented in modern Norwegian history. The powerful individuals that have pushed for these negative and biased attitudes in Norway are today responsible for creating a politically-correct hatred towards Israel that today portrays my country internationally as the most anti-Semitic country in the West."
But setting Israel aside it is at present Norway's treatment of the Dalai Lama that has been placed under the microscope of detecting craven cynicism in the affair of shunning personal contact with the spiritual leader whose self-imposed exile from Tibet was forced upon him by the Chinese authorities who regarded him as a "splittest", intent on sundering that ancient country from the geography of China which had invaded it and claims it as part of China. China values "harmony" and harmonious relations within China its goal, forcefully hammering down protest against its human rights abuses.

When Norway's Nobel committee awarded jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo the Peace Prize in 2010, China broke off government high-level and diplomatic contacts with Norway, straining trade relations, disrupting salmon exports from Norway and pitting the world's second-largest economy against Western Europe's largest oil exporter. Norway's Foreign Minister Boerge Brenda last month stated that his country needs "to focus on our relationship with China", and accordingly it would become "difficult to normalize our relationship with China", should the government officially recognize the Dalai Lama.

"Normalize" relations with China? Does that then mean that China's aggression toward its South China Sea neighbours, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam should be overlooked? China, after all, has authorized its ships to ram and water-cannon Vietnamese vessels attempting to stop Beijing from setting up a huge oil rig in the South China Sea where Vietnam claims sovereignty. If the government of Norway is agonizing over its Nobel committee's choices over which the government has no control, it might consider returning that privilege to Sweden, and then it would face no further problems with China over the granting of the Peace Prize.

The Dalai Lama's visit to Oslo this week coincided with the 25th anniversary of his having received the Nobel Peace Prize. When jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo became a laureate in 2010 it was in recognition of his struggles for peace within a country whose human rights record was, is, and will remain for the foreseeable future abysmal. The Dalai Lama fled his country to preserve his life. Since then hundreds of thousands of Tibetans have died, resulting from China's anti-human-rights policies. 
Norway is sufficiently venal to overlook such inconveniences in favour of currying a place in China's esteem as a reliable trading partner.

Last year, Zhao Jun, China's ambassador to Norway made it perfectly clear that no headway could be made without Norway back-tracking in its humble support of human rights. China's ambassador stated outright that the Nordic country has a need to proffer the first apologetic move, pledging never to again cross "red policy lines", and then the diplomatic freeze that had been imposed on Norway after the granting of the prize to its jailed dissident would be lifted.

In quietly chiding the newly (2013) elected government of Norway, the Dalai Lama was making allusion to his meeting earlier in 2014 with American President Barack Obama in defiance of the Chinese government's lodging of a formal diplomatic protest, warning that diplomatic relations between the United States and China would be deleteriously impacted. The Dalai Lama pointed out that large country or small, each makes a choice to uphold human rights or to withhold their support for fear of losing financial traction.

Norway has established its hypocritical choice.

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