BEIJING - China on Thursday urged the United States not to let the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing brands a separatist, visit the country. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, who fled his homeland in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, starts a visit to the United States this week.

Our position is clear and consistent when it comes to the Dalai Lama's visits. We oppose the Dalai Lama going to any country to engage in splittist activities under any pretext, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu.

We have already made representations to the U.S. side, demanding that they live up to their promises, and not let the Dalai Lama engage in any splitist activities in the United States, she told a regular news conference.

Beijing calls the Dalai Lama a reactionary who seeks to split off nearly a quarter of the land mass of the People's Republic of China. It has been using its diplomatic clout to try to block the pro-Tibetan message.

The 1989 Nobel Peace laureate denies the charge says he seeks greater rights, including religious freedom, and autonomy for Tibetans.

China last year canceled a summit with the European Union after French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he planned to meet the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama, together with tens of thousands of exiled Tibetans, has lived in India since he fled Lhasa.