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China decries McCain’s meeting with Dalai Lama

By RIA Novosti,

Beijing : China Monday decried a meeting between US Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, calling it potentially detrimental to bilateral relations.

During the meeting Friday in Colorado, McCain called on the Chinese government to release political prisoners in the mountainous province, to account for Tibetans who ‘disappeared’ in pro-independence protests in March, and to engage in real dialogue on Tibetan autonomy.

“The situation in Tibet is an internal political affair for China, and we call on the US to respect the basic principles of international law, and not under any pretext to support the separatist activities of the Dalai Lama, to the detriment of Chinese-American relations,” the Chinese foreign ministry said on its website.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of masterminding the March protests and violence, a charge he denies.

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959, has repeatedly said he seeks autonomy for Tibet, rather than independence from China.

Beijing has demanded that the spiritual leader recognise Tibet as a part of China.

Talks between Chinese officials and the Dalai Lama’s representatives in early May brought no progress, and further discussions scheduled for June were postponed after a devastating earthquake in China’s southwest.

China’s handling of the protests in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, has been severely criticised in the West.

Some leaders called for a boycott of the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympic Games if China failed to agree to negotiate with the Dalai Lama.