(Repeats to widen distribution)
BEIJING Dec 16 China expressed dissatisfaction
on Friday after exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama
met Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, saying it hoped India
would recognise the Nobel Peace Prize winning monk as a
separatist in religious guise.
Mukherjee hosted the Dalai Lama and other Nobel Peace
laureates at a conference on children's rights at the
presidential palace on Sunday.
Those who attended, and spoke, included Princess Charlene of
Monaco and the former president of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta.
The Indian government had ignored China's "strong opposition
and insisted" on arranging for the Dalai Lama to share the stage
with Mukherjee, and meet him, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng
Shuang told a daily news briefing in the Chinese capital.
"China is strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposed to
this," he said, adding that the Dalai Lama used the guise of
religion to engage in separatist activities and China opposed
any form of official contacts with him.
China wanted India to recognise the "anti-China, separatist
essence of the Dalai Lama clique and take steps to banish the
negative impact of this incident" to avoid disrupting ties
between the Asian giants, Geng said.
While the Dalai Lama has had private meetings with Indian
leaders, Sunday's conference was the first public event, said
the political head of the Tibetan government in exile based in
India's northern hill town of Dharamsala.
"There are many European governments shying away from
hosting His Holiness," he told Reuters. "Here you have the
president of India hosting His Holiness. I think is a powerful
message to the world, and particularly to Beijing."
China regards the Dalai Lama as a separatist, though he says
he merely seeks genuine autonomy for his Himalayan homeland
Tibet, which Communist Chinese troops "peacefully liberated" in
The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959 after a
failed uprising against Chinese rule.
China also expressed displeasure with India this month over
the visit to a sensitive border region of another senior Tibetan
religious figure, the Karmapa Lama, Tibetan Buddhism's
third-most-senior monk, who fled into exile in India in
India is home to a large exiled Tibetan community.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Sanjeev
Miglani in New Delhi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)