China threatens city base pull-out

South Wales Argus: The Dalai Lama's upcoming visit to Leeds has upset the Chinese Olympic delegation who are training in the city The Dalai Lama's upcoming visit to Leeds has upset the Chinese Olympic delegation who are training in the city

Chinese officials have threatened to pull the country's Olympic athletes out of their training camp in Leeds due to a scheduled visit by the Dalai Lama to the city, it has been reported.

The Tibetan spiritual leader is set to address the Yorkshire International Business Convention on Friday but officials have asked Leeds City Council to pressure the organisers into cancelling his visit, the BBC said.

The council distanced itself from the convention but said it was aware of "sensitivities" around the event.

Tom Riordan, chief executive of the council, said: "The Yorkshire International Business Convention is a private event not organised by Leeds City Council.

"Whilst we are aware of some sensitivities around this year's convention, as it is not a council event we do not feel it is appropriate for us to make any further comment."

The Tibet Autonomous Region is a self-governed province in China but many Tibetans have been campaigning for independence for decades. Their political and spiritual leader the Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 and established the Tibetan government in exile in northern India's Dharamsala.

Many in the region and in exile claim Tibet was independent for centuries before the Chinese invaded in the 1950s. But the Chinese government sees the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist and claims Tibet has always been part of its territory.

Chinese Olympic officials selected Leeds as the country's training base in August last year. Around 300 athletes, coaches and support staff representing China in at least 11 sports will be based in the West Yorkshire city as they acclimatise to English conditions.

The initial direct financial benefit to the city of hosting the team is expected to be a minimum of £250,000. The deal was agreed with the Chinese Olympic Committee by Leeds City Council, and is supported by the University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University.

No-one from the Chinese Embassy or the business convention was available for comment.

More national news stories

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:58pm Wed 13 Jun 12

old-codger says...

Its not for China to dictate to this country who we welcome and who we dont, We have our own human rights issues with china. If they dont like what we do then dont come, Nobody will miss them.
Its not for China to dictate to this country who we welcome and who we dont, We have our own human rights issues with china. If they dont like what we do then dont come, Nobody will miss them. old-codger
  • Score: 0

7:12pm Wed 13 Jun 12

Richard 1976 says...

Any excuse to get out of Leeds! Not my favourite place despite being home to YTV, and not a particularly pleasant bunch of football supporters for those with long memories
Any excuse to get out of Leeds! Not my favourite place despite being home to YTV, and not a particularly pleasant bunch of football supporters for those with long memories Richard 1976
  • Score: 0

11:44pm Wed 13 Jun 12

ponderman says...

The world would be a better place if their was no such thing as china.
The world would be a better place if their was no such thing as china. ponderman
  • Score: 0
Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree