Tibetans outraged after Milan retracts from making Dalai Lama 'honorary citizen' under Chinese 'pressure'
Washington, June 22 (ANI): Milan has backed away from plans to give the Dalai Lama honorary citizenship because of concerns about upsetting China, sparking outrage among Tibetans.
The Milan city council had planned to vote on making the Dalai Lama an honorary citizen before his visit next week while Venice and Rome have already honored the Tibetan spiritual leader.
However, city leaders came under pressure from the Italian Foreign Ministry and the Chinese ambassador to drop the idea, as the move could poison its talks with China before Milan hosts an international exposition in 2015.
Today, I am ashamed to be a representative of a council and a city that are scared, the Los Angeles Times quoted a city council member Pietro Tatarella, as saying.
The city council scuttled the move, upsetting the president of the Tibetan community of Milan.
However, the furor over pulling back the honor has led other Italian cities to claim that they'll make the Dalai Lama an honorary citizen in their towns. The mayor of Matera said the city was committed to defending human rights around the world, including in China, the paper reported.
Hosting the Dalai Lama has been politically sticky for European leaders hoping to stay in the good graces of China. After British Prime Minister David Cameron met with the Dalai Lama in May, China canceled a scheduled visit to Britain by one of its top officials. (ANI)