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China Slams Meeting Between Brown-Dalai Lama

May 26, 2008

Daily Times (Pakistan)
May 25, 2008

* Foreign Ministry calls meeting interference in Beijing's internal affairs

BEIJING: China on Saturday voiced strong opposition to a meeting
between British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Tibetan exiled leader
the Dalai Lama, calling it interference in its internal affairs.

"The British side has refused to acknowledge our serious concerns,"
foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement. "This
interferes in China's internal affairs," he said.

"The Chinese side expresses its strong dissatisfaction and firm
opposition to this." During the Friday meeting, Brown pledged
Britain's support for rapprochement between Tibet and China after
Beijing held talks with envoys of the Dalai Lama.

Brown's office said he held "warm and constructive" discussions with
the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader in a 30-minute meeting at Lambeth
Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury's official residence in London.

The talks were the most contentious engagement in the 11-day visit to
Britain of the Dalai Lama, who has been traveling widely in recent
months. Brown, who is keen to boost trade and other links with China,
also faced criticism at home for not receiving the Dalai Lama in the
prime minister's Downing Street office, as his predecessors Tony
Blair and John Major did.

"The British government has many times expressed that it does not
support Tibetan independence," Qin said. "We urge the British side to
implement its commitment with real actions and do more things that
are beneficial to the long-term development of bilateral relations."

The Dalai Lama has consistently voiced opposition to Tibetan
independence from China, although he has advocated greater autonomy
for his homeland and criticised Beijing's policies there. Despite the
newly restarted talks between Beijing and representatives of the
exiled Dalai Lama, Qin's statement appeared to reflect China's
long-held position that the spiritual leader's international forays
are all aimed at advancing Tibetan independence.

China had previously warned Britain that it was "seriously concerned"
about his planned meeting with Brown. China has accused the Dalai
Lama of fomenting the recent unrest in Tibet.
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