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Obama Calls for Dialogue Between China and Dalai Lama


U.S. President Barack Obama discussed Tibet during a meeting with China's visiting foreign minister, despite China's outrage at what it says is U.S. interference in its internal affairs.

The White House says President Obama expressed his hope that there would be progress in dialogue between the Chinese government and representatives of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Early reports on the meeting by China's official Xinhua news agency did not mention the Tibet comments.

In other news, the Chinese-government appointed head of the Tibet Autonomous Region said any reincarnation of the Dalai Lama must be approved by Beijing. Qiangba Puncog (Tibetan spelling: Jampa Phuntsok) -- the top Tibetan official in China's officially atheist Communist Party -- claimed that the Dalai Lama can not decide the matter by himself.

Tibetan Buddhists believe that advanced practitioners like the Dalai Lama who are close to reaching enlightenment can choose instead to be reborn in order to benefit other beings.

Before the White House meeting, China's Foreign Ministry on Thursday expressed anger about a U.S. congressional resolution that urges Beijing to end "repression" in Tibet. Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said the resolution disregards facts and ignores what Beijing considers to be the Dalai Lama's anti-China separatist policies.

In passing the non-binding resolution Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives marked the 50th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule. The resolution called on China to lift "harsh policies" imposed on Tibetans and to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

China also criticized the Obama administration's comments earlier this week on the anniversary of the Tibetan uprising.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament has urged China to resume talks with the Dalai Lama on granting regional autonomy for Tibet. European lawmakers passed a resolution Thursday making the appeal.

The Dalai Lama has called for greater autonomy for Tibet for decades and denies seeking independence.

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