Anger expressed over McCain, Dalai meeting

2008-07-29 03:04:08 GMT       2008-07-29 11:04:08 (Beijing Time)       China Daily

China's foreign ministry Monday expressed its concern over a meeting last week between US Republican presidential candidate John McCain and the Dalai Lama, warning it could damage Sino-US relations.

"We oppose the Dalai Lama going to any country in any capacity to engage in separatist activities," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a statement.

He was speaking following McCain's meeting on Friday, with the Dalai Lama in Colorado in the United States.

Tibet is an internal affair and the Chinese government opposes anyone using the Dalai Lama to interfere in its domestic affairs, Liu said.

"We urge relevant American figures to adhere to the basic standard of international relations and discern the Dalai Lama's true face of splitting China and undermining the social stability and ethnic solidarity of Tibet under the cloak of religion," he said.

They should not do things that harm China-US relations, he said.

McCain is known for his hard-line approach toward China on human rights.

In a 45-minute talk with the Dalai Lama, McCain asked China to "recognize human rights" in Tibet and pressed it to engage in dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

The McCain meeting follows hot on the heels of an incident involving Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek.

Last week, he stirred up controversy by wearing a badge featuring the flag of "Tibetan independence" when he announced he would attend the Beijing Olympics.

The Czech foreign ministry later issued an explanation, saying the government had not changed its position and that it did not support "Tibetan independence".

The Czech ambassador to China is also reported to have been summoned to the Chinese foreign ministry to clarify his government's stance on Tibetan affairs.

Despite saying in April that he would boycott the Olympics, Topolanek said last week he would attend to support Czech athletes but would miss the opening ceremony on Aug 8.

He will arrive in Beijing on Aug 13 for a three-day visit.

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