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China Warns Vatican Over Dalai Lama Meeting Plans


China has warned the Vatican about a scheduled meeting between Pope Benedict and the Dalai Lama next month.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said Thursday that China hopes the Vatican will not do anything that would hurt Chinese peoples' feelings.

The Pope first met with the Tibetan spiritual leader last year.

Liu also criticized world leaders who have met with the Dalai Lama in recent weeks. Responding to questions about the Dalai Lama's recent talks with U.S., Canadian and German leaders, Liu charged that some countries have "ulterior motives" for such actions.

Liu denied reports that Chinese border guards fired on a group of Tibetans trying to flee from Tibet to Nepal last month. He described the reported incident as "groundless" and "fabricated news."

The India-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy said this week that Chinese border police shot at a group of 46 Tibetans on October 18th, as they tried to cross the same icy pass (Nangpa) into Nepal where a nun was shot and killed by Chinese guards last year.

The organization said 35 members of the group made it to Nepal, but that the others were either arrested or are missing. The U.S.-based International Campaign for Tibet says the refugees included Buddhist monks, nuns and two children.

Up to three thousand Tibetans make the tough and dangerous journey from Tibet to Nepal each year. Many then go to Dharamsala in northern India, where the Dalai Lama has set up a Tibetan government in exile.
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