China says it has lodged a strong protest with neighboring Mongolia over a visit this week by the Dalai Lama.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei announced the protest at a briefing in Beijing Tuesday.
``We have always opposed any country providing a platform for the Dalai Lama to engage in activities to split China in any form. China has lodged a strong protest to Mongolia.''
He said China has always opposed any country providing the exiled spiritual leader with a platform to advocate independence from China for his native Tibet.
The Dalai Lama began a series of lectures and prayer sessions in Mongolia Tuesday after arriving from Japan, where he blamed Chinese policies for the self-immolations of 11 Buddhist monks and nuns in ethnic Tibetan areas of China.
The Dalai Lama has long insisted he seeks only a degree of autonomy for Tibet, along with better protections for the region's traditional culture.
But the Chinese spokesman charged that he uses every opportunity to advocate for Tibetan independence.
"The Dalai Lama always uses the opportunity of furtive visits to publicize Tibetan independence, smear the Chinese government and play up issues related to Tibet.''
He said the spiritual leader also uses his travels to smear the Chinese government.
Tibetan-style Buddhism is widely practiced in Mongolia, whose political survival has long depended on a delicate balancing act between its two giant neighbors, China and Russia.
Senior Mongolian religious leaders have stressed the purely spiritual nature of the Dalai Lama's visit.