The Italian city of Milan has scrapped plans to give honorary citizenship to the Dalai Lama due to concerns such a move would jeopardize Chinese involvement and investment in the 2015 Expo, according to Reuters:
Milan had intended to honor the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, who is considered a separatist by Beijing, before his arrival next week for a two-day visit. But the city council suspended the decision on Thursday.
“The Chinese consul told me that making the Dalai Lama an honorary citizen would have been interpreted as a sign of non-friendship towards the Chinese people,” Milan mayor Giuliano Pisapia was quoted as saying by Italy’s leading newspaper Corriere della Sera on Friday.
Contacted by Reuters, Pisapia’s spokesman confirmed the remark.
“There is no citizenship but a request which the Dalai Lama has accepted that he solemnly talks before the city council on Tuesday morning,” the spokesman said.
Milan would have joined other Italian cities, including Rome and Venice, in giving the Dalai Lama the honor. The LA Times blog reports that the decision has outraged supporters of the Tibetan cause.