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Beijing: Paris Honor for Dalai Lama Harms China-France Relations


China has expressed its dissatisfaction over a move by Paris to honor Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, despite Beijing's objections.

The mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, made the Dalai Lama an honorary citizen of the French capital on Sunday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Tuesday that the honor has seriously undermined China-France relations.

The spokesman urged the French capital to correct its error and stop interfering in China's internal affairs.

Reports in Chinese state media published critical reports of the Paris honor on Tuesday. The People's Daily said many Chinese Internet users were angered by the move.

The move could further strain France's relations with China, which deteriorated sharply last December following a meeting in Poland between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The Paris city council voted to give the Dalai Lama honorary citizenship in April, following China's crackdown on a wave of anti-government protests in Tibet. Beijing warned Paris last month not to bestow the award.

On his arrival in Paris Saturday, the India-based Tibetan spiritual leader accused China of imposing a "death sentence" on Tibet, and said he believes Tibet's heritage and culture are in jeopardy under Chinese rule.

Beijing says the Dalai Lama seeks independence for Tibet, while the exiled spiritual leader says he only wants autonomy for the region.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, Reuters and AP.



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