Chinese media are criticizing French President Nicolas Sarkozy's meeting with the Dalai Lama in Poland over the weekend.
The People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China, ran an editorial on Sunday which said the purpose of the meeting, despite China's opposition, was to shift domestic attention away from a gloomy economy in France, high unemployment rate and waning support for presidency.
"Sarkozy was absolutely miscalculating as he tried to undermine the core interests of China so as to win domestic support, which will eventually damage the interests of the people in France and Europe," wrote Zhong Sheng.
Sarkozy held a half-hour meeting with the Dalai Lama on Saturday in the Polish city of Gdansk. It made him the first European head of state to meet the Dalai Lama while holding EU's rotating presidency.
The action garnered repeated protests by China.
"A Politician like Sarkozy is fully aware of the sensitivity of issues relating to Tibet," Zhong said, adding Sarkozy would pay a heavy price for his provocative act.
On Monday, an editorial in Oriental Outlook, a popular weekly, said "French and EU leaders know very well where China stands when it comes to issues relating to Tibet," Zhang Zhengdong wrote.
"China has always firmly opposed any secessionist activities carried out by the Dalai Lama and opposed any contact with the Dalai Lama by foreign leaders in whatever form. Even if some of the common citizens in the EU do not see China's stance on Tibet-related issues, their leaders sure can."
Zhang went on to write, "It is well acknowledged by the international community, including France and the EU, that Tibet is a part of China and the Tibet-related issues are China's internal affairs."
"China views France as a major force in the world, and has never done anything against the interests of France. The current difficult situation between China and France is the sole result of the misconduct of the French leader," the magazine said.
Taikunpao, a Hong Kong-based newspaper, ran a commentary on Tuesday which said friendship and cooperation between China and France accumulated over decades.
Ma Haoliang went on to write, Sarkozy had "over drafted trust and endurance from China to simply gain more say among the European nations, to exalt himself to a moral high ground."
"China is not a credit card for Sarkozy. His repeated overdraft of trust will place Sino-French relations in bad debt," the paper said.
Deputy Foreign Minister He Yafei summoned the French Ambassador to China, Herve Ladsous, on Sunday evening to lodge a strong protest about the meeting, according to the Foreign Ministry.
China said, "France should bear full responsibility for the matter."
(Xinhua News Agency December 10, 2008)