That’s what I’d like to know.
The Chinese authorities, it seemed, were being remarkably silent in the few days leading up to the Dalai Lama’s visit to Iceland – in light of the usual conniptions they tend to throw whenever he goes anywhere, that is.
However, we did not have to wait long: yesterday Iceland’s ambassador to China was summoned to meet with authorities in Bejing, where he was treated to the usual lecture about their extreme disapproval, as well as various veiled threats about sanctions and whatnot. Evidently the same sorts of threats are being made against Danish and Dutch authorities – two countries that the Dalai Lama will also visit on his tour of Europe.
The most bizarre incident around this whole business, however, concerns the Chinese ambassador here in Iceland. Evidently he was called back to China yesterday, right after he had visited the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to convey the sentiments of the Chinese authorities about the Dalai Lama’s [private!] visit to Icelandic authorities.
The Chinese embassy has not made a formal announcement concerning the matter, and has not returned calls requesting information from the Icelandic media. Which leaves the whole mess open to speculation. Could it be that the Chinese ambassador has won himself disfavour among his superiors by not throwing a massive fit in anticipation of the visit?
Meanwhile, I will never, never, never understand the overbearing insolence of the Chinese when it comes to trying to control the actions of other sovereign states. Seriously, isn’t there a 12-step program for this sort of thing?
UPDATE: OK, so the Chinese embassy says he hasn’t been called home. Icelandic media jumped the gun, I guess.
TIME TO GO OUT TO CHECK THE WEATHER
It looks fairly harmless out there right now, cloudy with the sun making an occasional brave attempt to break through [unsuccessfully]. Temps 10°C [50F], sunrise this morning was at 3.18, sunset due for 11.36 here in the capital.