China protests German minister's visit with Dalai Lama

The Chinese government on Tuesday criticized a German minister's meeting with the Dalai Lama as meddling in China's domestic affairs, reported dpa.

"We oppose any country, organization or individual using the Dalai Lama to interfere in China's internal affairs," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said a day after Tibet's visiting spiritual leader met with German Development Aid Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul in Berlin.

Relations between China and Germany had gradually gotten back on track, the ministry said after Beijing had been angered over Chancellor Angela Merkel's meeting with the Dalai Lama in September in her office.

The German government has reiterated its support of Beijing's one-China policy, which sees Tibet as part of China, and has said it does not support or encourage actions with the aim of Tibet independence, the ministry spokesman added.

"We hope the German side will fulfil its commitments by practical action, will not support or connive with the Dalai Lama using German territory to engage in anti-China and separatist activities through any means and will not send any wrong signal to him to ensure the healthy and stable development of Sino-German relations," he said.

Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India, with being a separatist, but he said he wants autonomy for Tibet within China.

Wieczorek-Zeul ignored criticism from China and members of her own party in meeting the Dalai Lama for 45 minutes at a Berlin hotel in discussions she described as "very good" and "fruitful." They included talks about human rights and the recently resumed dialogue between the Chinese government and representatives of the Dalai Lama, she said.

The minister was the only member of the German government to meet the religious leader during his most recent trip to the country. Merkel was travelling in Latin America at the time of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate's visit.

Members of Wieczorek-Zeul's Social Democratic Party criticized her for meeting the Dalai Lama, saying it was more important to cultivate harmony with Beijing, but her aides said it was part of her world economic- development job to meet important international figures while denying suggestions she met the Dalai Lama in a private capacity.

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