China accuses US of meddling after American diplomat meets Dalai Lama

China on Tuesday said it was firmly opposed to any meeting between India-based Dalai Lama and officials after a senior US diplomat met the Tibetan leader in Dharamshala to discuss ways to improve religious freedom.

The US’s Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback delivered a speech in Dharamshala on Monday along with the Dalai Lama at the 60th anniversary celebration of the Tibetan Institute for the Performing Arts.

Reports said that during his meeting with Dalai Lama, Brownback discussed ways to improve religious freedom for Tibetan Buddhists around the world.

Beijing’s foreign ministry was quick to react to the meeting and lashed out at the US at the regular ministry briefing on Tuesday.

“We urge the US official to stop contacting the Dalai Lama clique, making irresponsible remarks and using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang said on Tuesday.

Geng said the 14th Dalai Lama was a political exile who has engaged in anti-China separatist activities outside the country, and that China firmly opposes foreign official’s contact with him in any form.

“The US official’s remarks violated the US’ commitment to recognise Tibet as part of China and not support ‘Tibet secession’,” Geng said.

On the reincarnation of Living Buddhas, Geng said it has fixed religious rituals and historical customs.

Geng added that the Chinese government has adopted a policy of freedom of religious belief and promulgated the Regulations on Religious Affairs and the Measures for the Administration of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas of Tibetan Buddhism to respect and protect this mode of inheritance.

The reincarnation system of the Living Buddha of the Dalai Lama has a history of several hundred years.

“The 14th Dalai Lama himself was recognised based on religious rituals and historical conventions, and was reported to the then central government, which approved the succession,” Geng added.

“Therefore, the reincarnation of Living Buddhas, including the Dalai Lama, should follow national laws and regulations, religious rituals and historical conventions,” Geng said.