Dalai Lama Controversy

George Bush and Dalai Lama

In 2007 Bush presented the Congressional Gold Medal to The Dalai Lama. (White house photo, Wikimedia Commons)

In the Feb. 8, 2010 edition of University World News, the site mentions the University of Calgary has been punished for awarding the Dalai Lama an honorary degree when he visited Calgary Sept. 29-Oct 1, 2009.

The Calgary Herald reported on Feb 4, 2010 (Gwendolyn Richards) that the university discovered late last year, after the Dalai Lama’s visit, that “The Chinese government has removed the University of Calgary from its list of accredited institutions.”

How did the university learn about this?  China did not openly announce their sanction, nor connect it explicitly with the Dalai Lama, but they have implied it indirectly.  According to the Calgary Herald,  “The university learned of the move late last year when an employee in the international student centre and a handful of students raised the issue.”  I wonder why it has taken so long to get into the news.

It has caused the Alberta Minister of Advanced Education and Technology and the local Member of Parliament to respond, according to a follow-up article on the Calgary Herald site.

As one can see in the comments on the Herald news articles, this controversy touches politics and history and … economics.

As one commenter to the Feb 4th Herald article noted, if U of C has, as it says it does, about 600 students from China, and they are paying approximately $1700/course x 10 courses/yr, the Chinese international student enrollment earns the U of C approximately $10M in tuition per year.

In August 2009 the University of Tasmania decided to CANCEL its honorary degree to the Dalai Lama, likely because of the pressure, according to ABC news.  The ABC article noted that “The University of Tasmania collects $30 million a year from Chinese students.”


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