Tibet officials "furious" at Dalai Lama's US award

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BEIJING, Oct 16 (Reuters) Tibet officials today expressed fury that the United States is to honour the Dalai Lama with an award and warned that the activities of his supporters were increasing in Chinese-controlled Tibet.

The Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since staging a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, is to receive the U.S.

Congressional Gold Medal tomorrow after being hosted at the White House by President George W Bush.

''Such a person who basely splits his motherland and doesn't even love his motherland has been welcomed by some countries and has even been receiving this or that award,'' Tibet's Communist Party boss, Zhang Qingli, told reporters.

''We are furious. If the Dalai Lama can receive such an award, there must be no justice or good people in the world,'' Zhang said.

China, which views the Dalai Lama as a separatist and a traitor, pulled out of a meeting this week at which world powers were to discuss Iran in protest at the US plan to honour him.

China has also cancelled an annual human rights dialogue with Germany to show is displeasure over German Chancellor Angela Merkel's September meeting with the Dalai Lama.

The country's rhetoric against the Dalai Lama, who Tibetan Buddhists consider their spiritual leader, has been increasing in line with his accolades abroad, even though the government and the Dalai Lama's envoys are engaged in a tentative dialogue process.

Tibet officials said the dialogue, the latest round of which was held in June, was not going well.

''Although we have undergone a lot of contacts and talks, the Dalai Lama has consistently supported Tibetan independence,'' said Qiangba Puncog, Tibet's governor.

''Under these circumstances, even though we keep the doors for contact open, there cannot be major development as long as the problem is not resolved.'' Reuters SS DB1215

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