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China protests Dalai Lama meeting

David Cameron's meeting with the Dalai Lama has drawn protests from China David Cameron's meeting with the Dalai Lama has drawn protests from China
  • Mike MacLachlan, London
  • United Kingdom
  • May 17, 2012
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China has lodged an official protest over a meeting between British Prime Minister, David Cameron and the Dalai Lama.

Britain’s ambassador in Beijing, Sebastian Wood, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry by Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao after the meeting, the BBC said yesterday.

The Foreign Ministry said Wood was told that British leaders should consider the “serious consequences” of meeting the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

Later, at his regular press conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said: “This is grave interference in China’s internal affairs and also an affront to the Chinese people, sending a wrong signal to ‘Tibet independence’ forces.

“China expresses strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to that.”

The Dalai Lama “is a political exile long engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the cover of religion,” he said.

The Cameron meeting was at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Monday. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also attended.

The Dalai Lama was in London to receive the annual £1.1million ($1.75million) Templeton Prize for “affirming life’s spiritual dimension.”

He donated the bulk of the money to the charity Save the Children to support its work in India, where he lives in exile, saying he had always had “great admiration” for its work.

“We are honored to accept this generous humanitarian gift,” said Save the Children’s chief executive Justin Forsyth.

“In line with the Dalai Lama’s wishes the funds will be used on programs which tackle malnutrition in India.”

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