November 25, 2008 / 8:56 AM / 10 years ago

China reiterates opposition to Dalai Lama

Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, speaks during a news conference in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamsala November 23, 2008. REUTERS/Abhishek Madhukar

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Tuesday reiterated its opposition to what it says are the “splittist” activities of Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in its first reaction to a meeting of Tibetan exiles last week. “China’s position is consistent and clear. We oppose the Dalai getting involved in activities overseas to split China, and we oppose any foreign leaders having any contact with the Dalai,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news conference.

Over the weekend, Tibetan exiles decided to stick to the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” approach to China, abandoning the dream of an independent Tibet in favor of seeking greater autonomy within China through dialogue.

“We have talked about this issue many times in the past,” Qin said, referring to the exiles’ meeting, and without elaborating.

China has already rejected the Dalai Lama’s demands for greater autonomy as being part of a covert plot for independence.

Chinese troops marched into Tibet in 1950 and the Dalai Lama fled the mountainous region in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie

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