BEIJING — China accused the U.S. Congress on Thursday of damaging relations and meddling in China's internal affairs by passing a resolution recognizing the plight of Tibet's people and their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
It was the second time in as many days that China cried foul over the U.S. stance on Tibet.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said a protest had been lodged with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing over the resolution, which "disregarded facts and made groundless accusations against China's ethnic and religious policies."
"The Chinese government and people express strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition," Ma told reporters during a regular briefing.
The foreign affairs committee of the National People's Congress, China's legislature, also expressed its opposition to the resolution, saying it "hurts the Chinese people's feelings," the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The resolution, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, also called for greater efforts by all sides to bring about a durable and peaceful solution to the Tibet issue.
Though such resolutions do not obligate the U.S. government to follow specific policies, China has often reacted testily to such criticism, especially this month, which marks the anniversaries of the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising and widespread anti-Chinese demonstrations a year ago.
The ministry lodged a similar protest Wednesday after a spokesman for President Barack Obama voiced concern for religious repression in Tibet and appealed for renewed dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama.
Also Thursday, state media quoted Tibet's governor as warning the Dalai Lama not to break with conventions on reincarnation when the time comes to choose a successor. The Chinese government, which is officially atheist, requires all Tibetan spiritual leaders to receive approval from Beijing.
"If the Dalai Lama does not follow the convention for political or other purposes, I believe his reincarnation would not be acknowledged by religious people in Tibet and the central government will never approve it," Xinhua quoted Qiangba Puncog as saying.
Traditionally, the Dalai Lama's successor is a boy born after his death, chosen by Buddhist monks who believe the child is his reincarnation.
But the Dalai Lama has said his successor could be appointed before his death or chosen through democratic elections. He has also said the next Dalai Lama could be reincarnated in exile.
The abortive 1959 revolt ended with the Dalai Lama's flight and brought the Himalayan region under Beijing's direct control. Peaceful protests marking the event last year spiraled out of control, resulting in a day of ethnic rioting in Lhasa on March 14 and widespread demonstrations elsewhere in Tibet and three surrounding provinces.
In recent weeks, paramilitary forces and police have poured into Tibet and China's other ethnically Tibetan areas _ about a quarter of its territory _ to head off any repeat of last year's unrest.