China outraged over Sarkozy meeting with Dalai Lama
China on Monday protested sharply against a meeting on the weekend between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, dpa reported.
The meeting, which took place at the sidelines of a conference in Poland, triggered Chinese outrage and heated protests in online forums, as well as calls to boycott French goods.
Deputy Foreign Minister He Yafei summoned the French Ambassador to China, Herve Ladsous, delivering a strong protest, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Sarkozy's meeting with the Dalai Lama was "gross" interference in China's internal affairs," which sabotaged the political basis for relations between China, France as well as the European Union, he was quoted as saying.
"It also severely undermined China's core interest, gravely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and sabotaged the political basis of China-France and China-EU relations," he said.
"The Chinese government firmly opposes and strongly protests against the action," he added.
"Sarkozy, we are really angry," one newspaper headline said.
An internet survey by a website affiliate to the People's Daily newspaper showed that 97 per cent of those polled said they were "indignant" by Sarkozy's "brazen" meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader.
One online comment predicted that the meeting of the French president, who currently holds the EU presidency, would trigger a new round of boycott of French goods.
China's government could call for calm, "but will never be able to control the nation's emotions," the author said, recalling the boycotts which followed pro-Tibetan protests in Paris during the Olympic torch relay earlier this year.
China is fiercely opposed to any international support for the Dalai Lama, whom it accuses of working towards Tibet's independence from China.