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China warns Sweden on Dalai Lama

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11:18 CEST+02:00
China warned Sweden on Tuesday against allowing the Dalai Lama to engage in political activities during a brief stay in Scandinavia.

"The Chinese side expressed concerns to the Swedish side," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said of the visit to Gothenburg by Tibet's most revered spiritual leader.

"We stated that the Dalai Lama is not merely a religious figure, but he is a political exile disguised in religious dress that has engaged in activities aimed at splitting the Tibet region from the motherland."

China urged Sweden to abide by "relevant commitments" and properly handle the visit "so as to avoid harming bilateral relations," Liu said.

The Dalai Lama arrived Sunday in Gothenburg for talks with the archbishop of the Swedish Lutheran Church, K.G. Hammar.

The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner, who fled Tibet into exile in India in 1959, is scheduled to travel to Norway on Tuesday.

Liu reiterated China's longstanding condition that the Dalai Lama must recognize Tibet as a part of China if he ever hopes to return to his Himalayan homeland.

"The door for the Dalai Lama is always open," Liu said.

"As long as he recognizes Tibet as a part of China and Taiwan as a part of China then we can have contacts and talks with him."

The Dalai Lama has repeatedly said he recognizes both Tibet and Taiwan as a part of China, but each time Beijing has countered that he "lacks sincerity".

AFP

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