A parliamentary delegation from the Netherlands has been refused permission to visit China. The Chinese embassy in The Hague made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon.
Although no official reason was given by the Chinese embassy, parliamentarians believe the refusal was prompted by the Dutch parliament's recent reception of the dalai lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile. At the time, the Chinese ambassador in the Netherlands warned that the parliament's action might have negative consequences.
The Dalai Lama visited Netherland parliament on June 05, where he spoke to lawmakers on the foreign affairs committee. he also met with Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen and a number of Dutch religious leaders in The Hague's St James Church.
Christian democrat Henk Jan Ormel, who made the Chinese refusal public, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide he is disappointed about the Chinese decision.
"China's People's Congress, our colleagues in Beijing, were too busy to receive us, is what the Chinese ambassador told me. He did not say that our reception of the dalai lama was the reason, but we are quite convinced that it was. After our talks with the dalai lama I went to see the ambassador to ask him if he could help us get an invitation from the People's Congress. In reply, he took a sheet of paper from his pocket and read it out loud: it was a declaration by the Chinese leadership, expressing its regret and concern over our reception of the dalai lama."
The parliamentarians are members of the standing committee on foreign affairs in the Dutch Lower House. Earlier trips took the committee members to the US and Russia. Henk Jan Ormel said the delegation had hoped to talk to Chinese politicians about issues like the human rights situation in China and China's foreign policy, and see the reality of China for themselves.
Information for this report was provided by NRC International and RNW.