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.
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
First full-length look is finally here
"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star
Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses
The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president
Brooklyn Beckham poses in Arsenal training kit following rumours of signing for the Gunners
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea could leave for FREE; £38m for Marquinhos; £37m bid for Mats Hummels;
Transfer news LIVE: Manchester United to make £37m Mats Hummels bid; Inter plan Yaya Toure move; Shola Ameobi joins Crystal Palace
Australian Open 2015: Novak Djokovic vs Stan Wawrinka match preview
Danny Ings to Liverpool: The Reds attempt to steal a march on rivals in race to sign Burnley striker
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures