Milan confers honorary citizenship on visiting Dalai Lama; China 'gravely hurt'

Beijing frequently expresses its anger with countries who host the Dalai Lama at official gatherings, and promised to retaliate after Slovakia's president saw him this week

Reuters October 21, 2016 13:09:14 IST
Milan confers honorary citizenship on visiting Dalai Lama; China 'gravely hurt'

Milan welcomed Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Thursday and gave him an honorary citizenship on a visit to the northern Italian city, angering China, which sees him as a separatist.

The 80-year-old Nobel Peace prize-winning monk says he only seeks genuine autonomy for Tibet, the Himalayan region that Communist Chinese troops took control of in 1950.

Milan confers honorary citizenship on visiting Dalai Lama China gravely hurt

File image of Dalai Lama. Reuters

Milan's mayor Giuseppe Sala, who is an ally of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, posted a photograph on Twitter of himself wearing a Buddhist scarf and clasping hands with the Dalai Lama.

Sala tweeted: "Milan, an open city. In the past, the present and the future." Italian media quoted him saying he did not fear "repercussions" from the meeting.

The Dalai Lama was also received by senior Roman Catholic cardinal Angelo Scola. There was no suggestion he would meet Pope Francis, who is pushing to improve relations with China.

Beijing frequently expresses its anger with countries who host the Dalai Lama at official gatherings, and promised to retaliate after Slovakia's president saw him this week. Few foreign leaders are willing to meet him.

"We resolutely oppose a country's officials in any capacity conducting meetings with the Dalai Lama," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing on Thursday.

The Chinese embassy in Rome said Milan city officials meeting with the Buddhist leader "had gravely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people".

Chinese companies have invested heavily in Italy in recent years, buying tyre maker Pirelli in 2015 and fashion house Krizia in 2014. A Chinese consortium has agreed to buy one of Italy's leading soccer teams, AC Milan.

The head of Sino-Italian business association UNIIC, Francesco Wu, was quoted by AGI news agency saying he was against the visit.

Updated Date:

also read

Serie A: Inter crash six goals past Bologna to move top, Atalanta three points behind with win
Sports

Serie A: Inter crash six goals past Bologna to move top, Atalanta three points behind with win

They are a point ahead of Roma, AC Milan, Napoli and Fiorentina following a thumping win which came thanks to goals from Lautaro Martinez, Milan Skriniar, Nicolo Barella, and Matias Vecino and a brace from Edin Dzeko.

Serie A: Walter Mazzarri replaces Leonardo Semplici as Cagliari head coach
Sports

Serie A: Walter Mazzarri replaces Leonardo Semplici as Cagliari head coach

Semplici was dismissed after Cagliari lost 3-2 at home to Genoa on Sunday, leaving them 17th in Italy's top-flight with just a point from their three opening league matches.

Serie A: AC Milan follow Liverpool lesson with trip to old rivals Juventus; Champions Inter face Bologna
Sports

Serie A: AC Milan follow Liverpool lesson with trip to old rivals Juventus; Champions Inter face Bologna

AC Milan bounce straight from one massive game to another on Sunday when they travel to fierce rivals Juventus still reeling from defeat in their first Champions League match since 2014.