Alex Salmond urged to meet Dalai Lama
Published: 17th Jun 2012 09:20:38
The first minister has been accused of pandering to "Chinese government diktat" by failing to meet with the Dalai Lama during his UK visit.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said Alex Salmond should meet the Tibetan spiritual leader.
Mr Rennie challenged the first minister to "stand up for what's important" despite Chinese "sensitivities".
The Scottish government said no politicians had been invited to a reception being held in Edinburgh.
The Dalai Lama is on a 10-day visit to Britain and on Saturday shared a stage with comedian Russell Brand at the MEN Arena in Manchester, where he presented a youth compassion award.
He will follow that with visits to Edinburgh Usher Hall, Caird Hall in Dundee and the Eden Court Theatre in Inverness.
"This is a missed opportunity," said Mr Rennie.
"By failing to meet with the globally respected spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, the first minister may leave the impression that he is more concerned with pandering to the diktat of the Chinese government than promoting human rights.
"We ignore China's human rights record at our peril. People from across Scotland have waited six years to meet with His Holiness.
"The cities of Dundee, Edinburgh and Inverness have all noted their enthusiasm towards welcoming him into their streets and town halls.
"Either Mr Salmond has completely misjudged the importance of this event, or he has shown once more that he is too afraid of rocking the boat."
The Scottish government was criticised in some quarters as Mr Salmond visited China in December to strengthen trade, arts and cultural links after the arrival of two giant pandas gifted to Edinburgh Zoo.
Mr Salmond said he would be raising the issue of China's human rights record with political leaders as part of his trade mission to Beijing.
A Scottish government spokesman stressed that Mr Salmond was visiting the US this week and returns to chair the British Irish Council in Stirling on Friday.
"The first minister has only received one invitation and that was to be part of the audience when the Dalai Lama received an award in London on 14 May - when the first minister was in Norway on official business," said a statement.
"Next week, the Dalai Lama is in Scotland on a pastoral visit as a religious leader.
"He is being properly recognised at a meeting hosted by the presiding officer in Queensberry House on behalf of the faith communities on a non-political basis.
"This is an appropriate and respectful way to receive an international religious figure.
"These arrangements are a matter for the presiding officer, not government - and, given the nature of the event, our understanding is that no party politicians have been invited."
At 06:57:24 in HeadlinesA group of 65 Indian nurses trapped in the fighting engulfing parts of Libya want to return home, officials say.
At 06:52:33 in Northern IrelandThe largest known private collection of memorabilia charting the history of Ireland and the Troubles is being offered free to a good home.
At 06:50:36 in Northern IrelandSinn Féin has said there has been an arson attack on its main constituency offices in Londonderry.
At 06:38:55 in Northern IrelandA man from Magilligan, dubbed the Moses of the Scotch Irish in America, is being commemorated.
At 06:28:47 in Northern IrelandA team of scientists is visiting Northern Ireland later as part of a bid to draw up a genetic map of the British Isles.
At 06:26:26 in SportSir Dave Brailsford could set up a female Team Sky to help support "greater parity" between men's and women's cycling.
At 06:25:29 in Northern IrelandA book of condolence for the victims of three recent airline disasters is to open at Belfast City Hall.
At 06:21:11 in SportMercedes will rethink their approach to races after a controversy over team orders at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
At 06:15:43 in HeadlinesIn a very mixed day for newspaper headlines, the government's new guidelines on the extraction of gas and oil from shale deposits (fracking) is of major interest for the press.
At 05:58:24 in EnglandA crew flying in front of a US helicopter brought down by geese over the English countryside have told how it disappeared into a "fireball".
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Alex Salmond urged to meet Dalai Lama [Online] (Updated 17th Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1435117/Alex-Salmond-urged-to-meet-Dalai-Lama [Accessed 28th Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
Each morning the staff of Basildon University Hospital gather in the canteen to discuss the pressing issues of the day.
Frauds committed by those aged 26-35 were up 285% in the first half of the year - to just over £62m - according to research by accountants KPMG.
Arcade machines kept in the UK Computer Museum are being restored after enthusiasts answered a plea for help.
A crew flying in front of a US helicopter brought down by geese over the English countryside have told how it disappeared into a "fireball".
Sir Dave Brailsford could set up a female Team Sky to help support "greater parity" between men's and women's cycling.
Scottish universities should appoint more women to their governing bodies or be forced to do so, according to the National Union of Students.