China Calls On Obama To Cancel Dalai Lama Meeting

07/15/2011 09:48 pm ET | Updated Sep 14, 2011

BEIJING — China has called on the U.S. to withdraw an invitation for the Dalai Lama to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House, saying it could hurt relations between the two countries.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement Saturday that China opposes any foreign official meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader and asked the U.S. to withdraw its invitation to avoid interfering in China's internal affairs.

Obama's planned meeting Saturday coincides with the Dalai Lama's visit to Washington for an 11-day Buddhist ritual expected to draw upward of 10,000 followers a day.

Obama last met with the Dalai Lama in February 2010, infuriating Chinese officials, who accuse the Nobel Peace Prize laureate of seeking Tibet's independence from China.