BEIJING protested to Washington yesterday that the Dalai Lama’s presence at a public event attended by President Barack Obama was US political exploitation of the Tibet issue.
The Tibetan Buddhist leader was a guest on Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, attended by the president.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that China regarded the Tibetan spiritual leader as a political exile working to overthrow Chinese territorial integrity under the cloak of religion.
“We oppose any other country’s decision to allow Dalai to visit and we oppose any country’s interference in China’s internal politics by exploiting the Tibet issue,” Mr Hong told a news conference.
“We have repeatedly pointed out that the Tibet issue concerns China’s core interest and national feelings.
“We oppose any other country’s decision to provide platforms for Dalai’s visit and we oppose any foreign leaders’ meeting with Dalai.”
China maintains that Tibet has been part of its territory for more than seven centuries.
At the breakfast, Mr Obama welcomed the Dalai Lama as a “good friend” and from the top table pressed his hands together in a prayer-like position and bowed his head toward him before giving him a wave and a broad smile.
Beijing rejects the Dalai Lama’s quest for greater Tibetan autonomy as a covert bid for independence and makes its displeasure obvious when foreign countries undermine its stance.
Mr Obama’s three previous meetings with the Dalai Lama have been private because of the sensitivity of the situation.