China miffed over plan to name stadium after Dalai Lama

January 22nd, 2010 - 9:10 am ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Jan 22 (IANS/EFE) The Chinese government has said a Costa Rican presidential candidate’s pledge to name a stadium in San Jose after Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama “is not in line with the common desires of the two countries”.
In a statement to EFE, the Chinese foreign ministry said the stadium “represents the Chinese people’s friendship with Costa Ricans”. China has contributed $83 million to build it.

The ministry was responding to statements by Otton Solis, leader of the centre-left Citizen Action Party, that he would name the stadium after the exiled leader to highlight Costa Rica’s lack of economic dependence.

The Dalai Lama has been living in exile in Dharamsala in India since a failed Tibetan uprising against the Chinese government in 1959. He acknowledges that Tibet is part of China, but Beijing still considers him a revolutionary.

The 35,000-capacity stadium will have offices for 32 sports federations, giant video screens, a sports museum, a track-and-field course and rooms for table tennis, fencing and chess.

Costa Rican authorities are planning to inaugurate the stadium in February or March of 2011 with sporting activities, a concert by a famous artist and a soccer game between Costa Rican and China.

The stadium is one of the flagship projects stemming from the resumption of diplomatic relations between Costa Rica and China June 1, 2007, which required the severing of ties between the Central American country and Taiwan, regarded by Beijing as a renegade province.

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