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Bush dismisses Chinese criticism over Dalai Lama

Other News Materials 18 October 2007 01:02

(Guardian) - The US president, George Bush, today denied that he had risked damaging American relations with China by attending an award ceremony for the Dalai Lama, and urged Beijing to permit religious freedom.

China has vehemently protested over the public ceremony at which the exiled spiritual leader and 1989 Nobel peace prize laureate was awarded America's highest civilian honour , the Congressional gold medal.

Mr Bush said the Dalai Lama was a "universal symbol of peace and tolerance, a shepherd of the faithful and a keeper of the flame for his people" as he handed him the award.

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