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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

China says Mexican president's meeting with the Dalai Lama damaged relations

September 27, 2011

BEIJING - China said Saturday a meeting between Mexican President Felipe Calderon and the Dalai Lama damaged relations between the countries and interfered with China's internal affairs.

Calderon met for about 45 minutes Friday with the Tibetan spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who was in Mexico to speak at a conference on peace as the basis for happiness.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said the meeting "grossly interfered with China's internal affairs, hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and harmed Chinese-Mexican relations."

"We demand the Mexican side adopt measures to eliminate the bad impact and to safeguard the sound and stable development of Chinese-Mexican relations," Ma said in a statement.

Beijing opposes any meetings between foreign leaders and the Dalai Lama. It considers the Nobel laureate to be a separatist intent on ending Chinese rule over Tibet. The Dalai Lama says he is seeking only a high level of autonomy for Tibet.

Beijing sent troops to occupy Tibet following the 1949 Communist revolution. It insists the region has been Chinese territory for centuries, though many Tibetans say it has a long history of autonomous rule by Buddhist leaders.

A failed uprising in 1959 led the Dalai Lama to flee into exile in India.

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