China Slams Obama for Dalai Lama Meeting

Posted July 16th, 2011 at 10:55 pm (UTC-5)
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China reacted angrily Sunday to a White House meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama, calling it an act that has grossly interfered in China's internal affairs.

An statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu demanded the U.S. stop interfering in China's internal affairs and “cease to connive and support anti-China separatist forces.”

The ministry summoned Robert Wang, charge d'affaires of the U.S. embassy in Beijing to file a protest. The Chinese embassy in Washington also formally protested.

A White House statement Saturday after the closed-door talks said Mr. Obama spoke of the need for direct dialogue between the Dalai Lama's representatives and the Chinese government to resolve differences. The president reiterated the U.S. policy that Tibet is a part of China.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of advocating Tibet's secession from China, a charge the Dalai Lama denies.

The White House announced the meeting between the two Nobel Peace Prize winners Friday at the end of the Dalai Lama's nearly two-week visit to the U.S. capital.

Mr. Obama last met the Dalai Lama in 2010 at the White House in a low-key meeting that also angered China. Beijing has been warning the U.S. for more than a week not to hold official meetings with the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama told VOA last week he would be very happy to meet with President Obama if given the opportunity. But he said his main reason for being in the United States is to give Buddhist teachings.

The Dalai Lama is in Washington for the 11-day Kalachakra ritual, the first time the ritual has been held in the U.S. capital. The days of meditation and teachings aim to inspire inner peace as a means of reducing conflict around the world.

Although he formally retired from politics earlier this year, the Tibetan spiritual leader also met with officials at the State Department and with political leaders during his stay.

This is the Dalai Lama's first trip to the United States since he stepped down as the political leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile.