"Dalai Lama visit to Bethlehem canceled to avoid China clash,"
Bethlehem, West Bank - The Dalai Lama, Tibet`s exiled spiritual leader, had a visit to Bethlehem canceled at the request of the Palestinian Authority, which is unwilling to antagonize China, organizers said on Monday.
Palestinian nongovernmental organization Holy Land Trust, which invited the Buddhist spiritual leader to visit the birthplace of Jesus Christ, withdrew the invitation at China`s request, said an official from the group.
The Dalai Lama was to have visited the Church of the Nativity, a mosque, Bethlehem town hall and a nearby refugee camp, the Holy Land Trust source said.
A senior official in the Palestinian foreign ministry confirmed that organizers had been asked to cancel the trip following a request from China.
"At the request of the Chinese government, we have not received or dealt with him given his separatist ambitions for Tibet," Majdi Al Khaldi said.
"Given our friendly relations with the Chinese government, which supports the Palestinian people, we asked the local [Bethlehem] authorities as well as civil society groups not to receive him and they acquiesced with our request."
The Dalai Lama last week paid a five-day private visit to Israel. Beijing accuses him of trying to lead the Tibetan province to secede from China and lodged an official protest against the visit.
He received the Nobel Peace prize for his peaceful opposition to Chinese rule and has long abandoned calls for Tibetan independence.
...this Tibetan response to the Middle East Times:
Palestinians Kowtow to Oppressor
By Nima Dorje
CALGARY, Canada: It saddened me