In further news...
The Trib's politics blog wrote:
A week after a House committee recognized the killing of as many as 1.5 million Armenians during World War I as genocide, officials will award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama. President Bush, who urged Democratic House leaders against taking up the genocide resolution for fear of antagonizing key Middle Eastern ally Turkey, is planning to attend the ceremony for the Tibetan Buddhist leader Wednesday at the Capitol.
"We are furious," Zhang Qingli, head of the Communist Party in Tibet, said today in Beijing, Reuters is reporting. "If the Dalai Lama can receive such an award, there must be no justice or good people in the world."
The Dalai Lama has lived in exile since leading a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet in 1959. He advocates publicly for Tibetan autonomy within China; Chinese officials say his real goal is independence. They consider him an enemy of the state.
"China has solemnly demanded the United States cancel the above-mentioned and extremely wrongful arrangement," Chinese Foreign Minister Yan Jiechi told reporters at the 17th Communist Party Congress, according to Reuters.
China has withdrawn from multilateral talks on Iran this week in protest; a spokesman for the foreign ministry warned the award would have an "extremely serious impact" on relations between the United States and China.
Bush was planning to meet with the Dalai Lama today and attend the ceremony Wednesday.
Although we're obviously not allied with China, we are reliant upon them for political pressure in several arenas (Iran, N. Korea) and they can negate actions in the UN with their Security Council vote. Of course, China blocking the US via the Security Council is almost a foregone conclusion anytime something big hits the UN anyway. I think it's safe to say that there's no real benefit to giving the Dalai Lama a gold medal from the government except that it's a nice thing to do. Edited, Oct 16th 2007 12:47pm by Jophiel