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 02:00:50 in HeadlinesThe Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken of the struggle to do "what is right and just to all" over the issue of gay marriage within the Church of England.
At 01:36:37 in HeadlinesTeachers' unions are demanding that schools in England should only employ fully-qualified teachers.
At 00:46:49 in EntertainmentSusanne du Toit won last year's BP Portrait Prize, one of the UK's most prestigious visual arts awards.
At 00:42:23 in EnglandTristram Hunt, Labour's shadow education secretary, is to warn against religious extremism in schools.
At 00:30:17 in ScotlandA groups of Highland clans are to hold an anniversary celebration in Inverness this weekend.
At 00:28:13 in ScotlandThe chief executive of Edinburgh Airport has hit out at state support for other airports, claiming it is "distorting" competition.
At 00:26:03 in WorldFew chemicals are as familiar as table salt. The white crystals are the most common food seasoning in the world and an essential part of the human diet.
At 00:02:57 in BusinessPeople convicted of commercial crimes overseas could be banned from running UK firms in a bid to tackle "rogue directors", Vince Cable has said.
At 23:55:54 in HeadlinesPope Francis has led Easter's Way of the Cross procession in Rome, with prayers for the poor and the abandoned.
At 23:55:01 in SportTottenham manager Tim Sherwood has admitted that he does not know his best team because so many of his players are "much of a muchness".
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 19th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
The chair of the panel set up to advise the NHS and ministers on the governance of patient information has told the BBC the Care.data programme was mishandled.
Few chemicals are as familiar as table salt. The white crystals are the most common food seasoning in the world and an essential part of the human diet.
A groups of Highland clans are to hold an anniversary celebration in Inverness this weekend.
Susanne du Toit won last year's BP Portrait Prize, one of the UK's most prestigious visual arts awards.
Tristram Hunt, Labour's shadow education secretary, is to warn against religious extremism in schools.