Wednesday, 20 June 2012

China meets Southside & Newington

His visit triggers questions
I have put down a question for next week's Council meeting about meetings between Edinburgh Council and the Consul General of the People's Republic of China.  

A stooshie has broken out over aspects of relations between Scotland and China with the visit of the Dalai Lama to Scotland and Edinburgh this week as the flash point.  The Chinese Consul General has visited First Minister Alex Salmond and there are suspicions that he is declining to meet the Dalai Lama in response to pressure from the People's Republic of China - with whom  trade and education links are being cultivated.   BBC report here.

I have previously reported concerns about the local and relatively recently established Confucius Institute for Scotland.   It occupies a baronial mansion next to the Pollock Halls and is part of Edinburgh University.  

It is of first importance that in our city, the many law abiding Chinese students and others are not put under pressure here from their Communist Government and its representatives.  

That presents difficult issues for the Scottish Government and the University of Edinburgh as they facilitate trade and education links.  These issues need to be resolved with appropriate precedence to freedom and free speech - precious values not observed in China in the same way as here.   

Question for response at the council meeting on 28th June:
 Clear Day
What meetings have been held between the Council or its senior representatives and the Consul General of the People's Republic of China or other representatives of the Chinese Government since the beginning of 2012?
Have any such meetings (which and who) discussed
  • the visit of the Dalai Lama?
  • the Confucius Institute for Scotland or its work?

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