I would never have thought that I would admire President Bush for anything, other than falling off a Segway. His record of murder while Governor of Texas where he refused to allow DNA testing on long standing Death Row cases was spectacularly exceeded by his war record while Top Dog. But this week I was forced to blink. He has awarded a Congressional Gold Medal to The Dalai Lama, despite the “vocal protestations” of China. A China that is which had to say about Burma
“The Myanmar issue should be fundamentally and properly resolved with the efforts of Myanmar’s government and people themselves and through consultation,” – Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao
“China is ready to continue to actively promote the proper settlement of the Myanmar issue together with the international community,” Liu added.
But China expresses ‘outrage’ at the award to the Dalai Lama.
“The move will seriously damage China-US relations,” – Liu Jianchao.
You may remember that President Bill Clinton also met with the Dalai Lama, but informally in the lounge, where he said, they might chat a little. This was Clinton’s way of meeting without officially meeting … diplomatic, but lacking teeth. Clinton probably just wanted to meet the Dalai Lama for himself. Expect Hilary to take a firmer line then her husband did.
You may also remember former British PM Tony Blair’s diabolical zero tolerance of protest in London 1999 when hosting President Jiang Zemin. Prior to President Jiang’s tour of London, the Blair Administration ordered security forces move in and sweep Free Tibet campaigners from the streets of the national capital. The crackdown, which went so far as to include the forcible removal of Tibetan flags from public display, came in direct contravention to Britain’s own human rights laws; which guarantee freedom of association and affiliation and the right to demonstrate peacefully.
“We are furious. If the Dalai Lama can receive such an award, there must be no justice or good people in the world,”
said communist officials inside the Tibetan region. Maybe they have not heard the Buddha’s teaching –
Fury is not by fury allayed, this is a timeless wisdom. Dhammapada
Perhaps the last flickers of Bush’s reign have given him some teeth now that he does not have much to lose politically. Or maybe he is looking to boost his post presidential political life at the expense of worsening diplomatic relations with China. Nothing would surprise me with this guy, or so I thought until he handed over this medal.