- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Weber State University professor who helped broker Utah’s relations with China is warning state officials they should not meet with the Dalai Lama when he visits Utah next week.

Professor Taowen Le said in a letter to state lawmakers Monday that any meeting with the Dalai Lama would jeopardize Utah’s friendship with China.

Le has helped develop Utah’s “sister-state” relationship with China and legislative visits to China’s Liaoning Province.

Utah’s House and Senate said in a statement Tuesday that the state’s friendship does not mean giving up core values such as freedom of speech. Representatives for Gov. Gary Herbert, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski say they plan to meet with the Dalai Lama.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader will be in Utah to speak at the University of Utah on June 21.

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