Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, centre, arrives in Oslo. Picture: Jon Eeg/NTB Scanpix

Stavanger, Norway -

Norway's decision to ignore the Dalai Lama's visit to Oslo this week to avoid upsetting China has drawn criticism in a country that considers itself a beacon of human rights in the world.

Unlike on his previous visits to Norway, no government officials will meet the Tibetan spiritual leader and 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate during his three-day stay that started on Wednesday.

The Conservative-led government, which took power last year, has made it a priority to repair relations with China, frozen since jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

High-profile meetings with the Dalai Lama would likely have angered China even more. But critics say oil-rich Norway can afford to stand up to China and may be compromising its principles for no return. - Sapa-AP