• Wed
  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 6:43am

'Punished' for Dalai Lama meeting, British PM cancels Beijing visit

Cameron, 'punished' for seeing Dalai Lama, was to be denied access to senior leaders this month

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 December, 2013, 10:18am

British Prime Minister David Cameron abandoned a trip to China planned for this month as Beijing punished him for meeting the Dalai Lama.

Cameron is understood to have cancelled the trip after Beijing indicated that he was unlikely to be granted meetings with senior figures. He is now expected to visit in the autumn, two years after his first and only visit as prime minister.

In a blow to Cameron, who had hoped to hold an annual summit with the Chinese leadership, French President Francois Hollande was on a full state visit a few weeks after the British prime minister was due to visit China.

Cameron met the Dalai Lama in London last May.

British government sources said tentative plans for Cameron to visit this month were put on hold for the simple reason that the new Chinese leadership only took over in March.

But The Guardian understands from diplomatic sources that a visit was firmly placed in the prime minister's diary for this month. This was abandoned when it became clear that the prime minister would be denied the access usually granted to a leader of a member of the Group of Eight.

Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary who has just returned from China, told The Guardian: "David Cameron came to office claiming he would prioritise the UK's diplomatic and trade relationship with China, and yet the real difficulties in relations have now been laid bare. I was in China … and it is clear that the new Chinese leadership is focused on the French president's visit, along with a large number of French companies looking for business."

Zhang Xiaojing, the director of Renmin University's Centre for European Studies, said: "I think The Guardian's report quite makes sense, although Cameron's meeting with the Dalai Lama is not the key reason for Beijing's new leadership choosing French President Francois Hollande as their first guest from the EU."

The tight schedules of President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in the two months since the leadership reshuffle were the key reason for putting off the British prime minister's trip, he said.

Shi Yinhong, a foreign-relations professor at Renmin University, said: "China looks at Britain, France and Germany as the three most important key UN friends."

However, he said, the central government was disappointed that Cameron had met the Dalai Lama "in disregard of Beijing's core interests".

Additional reporting by Minnie Chan


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This article is now closed to comments

Who does Mr Dalai Lama represent? Is he an elected official? One wonders why Mr Cameron met Mr Dalai Lama, a person selected for his position in dubious ways by a few men with their own motivations.
This kind of behaviour sits very oddly with all the talk of democracy, etc. For Mr Dalai Lama to have legitimacy as representative of a people, he ought to hold an elected office.
If and when David Cameron is allowed to visit Beijing I hope he brings with him and returns the rest of the bronze heads of animals of the zodiac that Britain stole when their rampaging troops destroyed the Yuan Ming Yuan (Old Summer Palace) after the 2nd Opium war, with help from the French.
A French Billionaire has returned two heads to show repentance. Its time Britain does the right thing and returns the rest of the relics stolen at the material time.
Not when it comes to selling British arms to Middle East dictators and also interfering in other nations internal affairs and encouraging instability ( Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria)
Carioca no Coracao
you asked, "what does Mr. Dalai Lama represent?"
answer: vodoo magic + euro american "democracy" save the world potion + feel good mumble jumble. ma lee ma lee hook...
What about the breaking of treaties by china and the treacherous kidnap, torture and murder of diplomats in a parley 1860 which led the French and British to destroy the Yuan Ming Yuan?
The Summer Palace was the exclusive private pleasure reserve of the arrogant Chinese aristocrats. The French and British destroyed it to bring down their pride, they did not harm the ordinary Chinese people who, actually, looted more than the foreign troops.
The only difference between the French and the British, apart from the results at Trafalgar and Waterloo and France's great staunchness and loyalty to the cause in WWII - Vichy France and their beautiful untouched, unbombed capital city - they love it so much they will never risk defending it for fear of damaging it, is that the British were better at building an empire. They were bad but they were better at being bad. The mindset of both was and is the same. Good luck to China's new leadership in hoping to build better relationships through the ever dependable French.
Shame on you failed Cameron Shame on UK.
well done well done my GReat Great China
Nationalism sucks.
Carioca no Coracao
you want my $$$ but making friends with my enemy...
We'll show YOU, Mr England!!
France gives us back useless, Western styled bronze animal heads to appease us and you...you dare meet with the most evil of wolves in sheep's clothing!! Naughty English PM!!
This hurts the feelings of the Chinese people and our feelings have been hurting for a long, long time...ever since your troops tramped in and crushed a superior army of the Qings and forced us, with some complicity, to purchase your evil opium!!
why you all people are jealous of Great china .
David cameron is Loser and china is winner thats all in simple.what every you comment no use China is Great that you have to accept
China is not great, it is amoral and viciously racist. The people of the free nations are better human beings than you will ever be. You will one day get your come-uppance for your overwheening hubris.
You are wrong. It is Britain that is not great anymore. The only way Britain was able to invade and colonize half the world in the good old days was because it was not constrained by a written constitution and was "amoral and viciously racist, particularly the parasites known as the British raj. See how Tony Blair was able to lie about WMD to invade Iraq.
The free people of the world are much better off now that the sun set on Britannia and it no longer rule the waves.
With 65 million people, half of them on welfare and the other half, Inebriated, I doubt Britain has the wherewithal to challenge China in another Opium War.
You're are actually doing a great job David. So what if he visits the Deli Lama? I thought Chinas new government does not have the same old interests. It's a free world, so the PM can visit where and whoever he likes because he's not Chinese.
The Treaties of Tientsin were not worth the papers they were written on. They were signed by the Qing under duress and were null and void.
That ended the 2nd Opium War, manufactured by Britain to legalize the Opium trade, open all ports and take over Kowloon after Hong Kong was ceded to Britain.
From 1856 to 1860 the war of aggression was waged on Qing China by British and French forces, using up to 50,000 troop and 173 ships..
In the ferocious war the arrogant British diplomats must have insulted the Emperor or they would have been released. Though it was wrong to kill those with diplomatic immunity does it give the Brits and French carte blanche to loot and then destroy such a magnificent building, which is 7 times the size of the Vatican City?
If in the future Britain and China get into another spat if China wishes to legalize the export of heroin into the UK, is it right for China to destroy Buckingham Palace, the exclusive private reserve of the Queen and her family 'to bring down their pride', if the UK govt refuses to comply?
To claim that the local stole more treasures is untrue as the Brits and French troops had weapons and started to loot and burn first.
Victor Hugh said: “The act of burning the palace has been perceived as barbaric and criminal'. It was like 'Two robbers breaking into a museum, devastating, looting and burning, leaving laughing hand-in-hand with their bags full of treasures. One robber was France, the other was Britain."
Principles are above trade. Well done, David Cameron!
Really - you stand with the Russians on Syria? You are a class A muppet. I would to schedule time to meet so I can beat your a$$.
No not quite so. This guy is picked up as a teeny weeny kid by five adults of a certain kind because according to them he recognised some toy! Brilliant, truly brilliant!
This report is misleading and self-contradictory. What indisputable evidence does the author introduce to back up his claim that UK Prime Minister has been snubbed and it was because he met Dalai a year ago? Not even the shadow foreign secretary said this. And, a foreign-relations professor from RU has the final say on this issue? How absurd! What a poor piece of journalism!
"Punished"?? That sounded so confuciusly stupid!!!
The French (and all other nations who treat with China) are fools to be taken in by China's overtures of friendship, which are merely cunning manoevres to lull the West into thinking China's intentions are harmless, while what China wants is totally self centred and motivated by greed built on an amazingly racist tradition.
One day, the free world will wise up and disinvest, and then where will China be? It has no original ideas or innovations and its cultural arrogance has led to its downfall on many occasions. It will happen again.
Carioca no Coracao
really? tell it to the unemployed, the pensioners waiting for the govt. checks, the sick needing govt. healthcare..... it's ALL about $$$...
@realist: "to have legitimacy as representative of a people, he ought to hold an elected office." Kind of like CY Leung and Xi Jinping, right?
Pakistan, North Korea, Cambodia, Sudan, France . . .
Perhaps you are correct. Let's see them hold an election in Tibet and see who wins?
This is so ridiculously childish I hardly can believe it.
If SCMP's report is carefully investigated, we see the new Chinese Leaders on their attempt to schoolmaster (i.e. rule) the rest of the world by telling who is good and who is bad.
Beside their paranoid attempts to isolate the exiled king of the land of vast resources.
And the western leaders bow and kiss **** as they worship the money.
Oh man.....


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