China threatens Leeds Olympic base pull-out over Dalai Lama visit
Wednesday 13 June 2012
Chinese officials have threatened to pull the country's Olympic athletes out of their training camp in Leeds due to a scheduled visit by the Dalai Lama to the city, it was reported today.
The Tibetan spiritual leader is set to address the Yorkshire International Business Convention on Friday but officials have asked Leeds City Council to pressurise the organisers into cancelling his visit, the BBC said.
The council distanced itself from the convention but said it was aware of "sensitivities" around the event.
Tom Riordan, chief executive of the council, said: "The Yorkshire International Business Convention is a private event not organised by Leeds City Council.
"Whilst we are aware of some sensitivities around this year's convention, as it is not a council event we do not feel it is appropriate for us to make any further comment."
The Tibet Autonomous Region is a self-governed province in China but many Tibetans have been campaigning for independence for decades.
Their political and spiritual leader the Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 and established the Tibetan government in exile in northern India's Dharamsala.
Many in the region and in exile claim Tibet was independent for centuries before the Chinese invaded in the 1950s.
But the Chinese government sees the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist and claims Tibet has always been part of its territory.
Chinese Olympic officials selected Leeds as the country's training base in August last year.
Around 300 athletes, coaches and support staff representing China in at least 11 sports will be based in the West Yorkshire city as they acclimatise to English conditions.
The initial direct financial benefit to the city of hosting the team is expected to be a minimum of £250,000.
The deal was agreed with the Chinese Olympic Committee by Leeds City Council, and is supported by the University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University.
No-one from the Chinese Embassy or the business convention was available for comment.
Radamel Falcao exclusive: Forward says joining Manchester United is a 'dream come true'
Transfer deadline day: The best memes and tweets, featuring Radamel Falcao, Javier Hernandez and Bart Simpson
Arsenal transfer news: Ray Parlour urges Arsene Wenger to make late move for Edinson Cavani
WWE Raw preview: Will John Cena continue to defy the threat of Brock Lesnar?
Danny Welbeck to Arsenal: Arsene Wenger pictured in Rome as club close in on Manchester United striker for £17m
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain