China has warned U.S. officials to avoid meeting with the Dalai Lama who is making his first trip to Washington D.C. since his “retirement” as the Tibetan leader-in-exile.
The Chinese foreign ministry said it expected American politicians to deal appropriately with Tibet-related concerns.
Beijing has accused the Nobel Peace Prize recipient of endorsing violence to secure independence for Tibet.
Hong Lei, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said: We oppose the [underhanded] visits of the Dalai Lama which he uses to engage in activities to split the motherland. At the same time, we also oppose any foreign government or politicians supporting or abetting in such activities by the Dalai Lama.”
The spokesman added: We hope that the United States strictly abide by its promises on the Tibet issue and ... cautiously and appropriately deal with relevant issues.”
The Dalai Lama, who is scheduled to deliver a public speech in Washington on Saturday, met with US President Barack Obama last year, an event that prompted a wave of criticism from Beijing.
He is also planning to lead a prayer for global peace on the lawn of the US Capitol building and also conduct a special Buddhist ceremony called a “Kalachakra” which is expected to attract thousands of people over the next week.
In May of this year, the Dalai Lama stepped down from his position as chief of the Tibetan government-in-exile; although he remains the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism.
He fled Tibet for India in 1959 amidst a crackdown by the Chinese.