Wed, Oct 17, 2007 - Page 1 News List

China tells Bush not to meet Dalai Lama

AFP , BEIJING

China yesterday warned US President George W. Bush to cancel a planned meeting with the Dalai Lama, amid rising tensions between Beijing and the West over the Tibetan spiritual leader.

As the Dalai Lama prepared for a private meeting with Bush in Washington yesterday and to receive an award from the US Congress today, China vented its anger.

"For the US Congress to take this action and the US leader to meet with the Dalai Lama is a severe violation of the norms of international relations," Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (楊潔箎) told reporters.

"We express our extreme dissatisfaction and strong opposition. We urge the US side to cancel these activities," Yang said.

While China's fury is this week directed at the US, it has also lashed out at Germany, Australia and other Western countries in recent months after their leaders met the Dalai Lama.

US officials said that China had also shown its anger at the Bush-Dalai Lama encounter by postponing a meeting of world powers in Berlin aimed at discussing the Iran nuclear crisis that had been scheduled for today.

The Iran meeting was to gather top officials from the five permanent UN Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the US -- and Germany.

Tibetan Communist Party chief Zhang Qingli (張慶黎) yesterday continued the verbal barrage while attending the party's five-yearly Congress in Beijing.

"As you know, the Dalai Lama betrayed and fled his country 48 years ago. Since he fled, he has never stopped his independence activities aimed at splitting the country," Zhang told reporters. "Nothing he does or says corresponds with what a religious leader should do or say. He's entirely a political figure."

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