( Reuters ) - China slammed the United States on Thursday for awarding the Dalai Lama one of its highest honours and summoned the honorsU.S. ambassador in Beijing to complain.
The Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since fleeing his predominantly Buddhist homeland in 1959 after a failed uprising against Communist rule, received the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal from President George W. Bush on Wednesday.
China, which considers the Dalai Lama a separatist, had already denounced the award as a "farce" that would hurt relations between Beijing and Washington.
"The move of the United States is a blatant interference in China's internal affairs, hurts the feelings of the Chinese people and has gravely undermined relations between China and the United States," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news conference on Thursday.
He also urged the United States to take concrete steps to protect Sino-U.S. relations.
The Dalai Lama told a packed audience in the U.S. Capitol he had "no hidden agenda" in seeking greater autonomy but not independence for his Himalayan homeland.
He said Beijing's depiction of his motives was "unfounded and untrue" and asked U.S. supporters to convince China he was sincere.