UK University Apologizes to China over Honorary Degree for Dalai Lama

21 May, from the London Metropolitan University website:

London Metropolitan University, yesterday presented His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama with an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy.

…Speaking at the ceremony Brian Roper, London Metropolitan University Vice-Chancellor said: ‘We are delighted to welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama to London Metropolitan University and recognise his work by conferring this honorary Doctorate on him. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a worldwide figurehead and a man who has inspired countless people throughout his life. Today we honour him, not just for his leadership of his people, but also for his demonstration, through all his words and deeds, that peaceful means of resolution always remain possible.”

8 July, from the China Daily:

Britain’s London Metropolitan University recently apologized for bestowing an honorary doctorate to the Dalai Lama after the move drew intense criticism from a number of Chinese.

Brian Roper, vice-chancellor of the university, expressed in a letter to the Chinese embassy in London on June 16 his regret of his school’s move, saying that offering the degree to the Dalai Lama was not a well-considered decision, according to an embassy official last week.

Roper said the university is committed to keeping a good relationship with China and fully supports the Beijing Olympics.

Index on Censorship tells it slightly differently, but it’s still rather unedifying:

London Metropolitan University has expressed ‘regret’ at offence caused to China by it’s recent award of an honorary doctorate to Tibetan religious leader the Dalai Lama in May…A representative of the Chinese embassy in London confirmed to Index on Censorship that the letter of apology had come after the embassy had demanded it from the university.

UPDATE: Free Tibet has issued a press release:

The China Daily’s report has been emphatically rejected by London Metropolitan University. In an emailed statement received by Free Tibet Campaign, the university’s PR Officer, Irene Constantinides, confirmed that the Vice-Chancellor had met with officials from the Embassy but stated “London Metropolitan University has not apologised for making the award”.

She said in the statement that the vice-chancellor “expressed regret at any unhappiness” caused to the Chinese people by the award, but reiterated that the university “will not be apologising for the award” and that the reward would not be retracted…A full copy of the statement emailed to Free Tibet Campaign by London Metropolitan University can be seen on request.

I’d like to know how exactly one expresses regret without conceding any kind of apology.

One Response

  1. […] London Metropolitan University has “expressed regret at any unhappiness” caused to China as a result of its having awarded an honorary PhD to the Dalai Lama. […]

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