China slams Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama

By the Associated Press | July 16, 2011 | 9:44 PM EDT

The Dalai Lama points to a ceremonial hat he wears before performing a blessing ceremony at the Anacostia River in Washington, on Saturday, July 16, 2011. President Barack Obama held a White House meeting Saturday with the Dalai Lama, a fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, hours after China called on the U.S. to rescind an invitation that could sour relations with Beijing. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

BEIJING (AP) — China has slammed President Barack Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama as an act that has "grossly interfered in China's internal affairs" and damaged Chinese-American relations.

The statement from China's Foreign Ministry comes hours after Obama met with the Tibetan spiritual leader in Washington.

China had already called on the United States to stop Saturday's White House meeting, warning it could hurt relations between the two countries.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Sunday that "such an act has grossly interfered in China's internal affairs, hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and damaged the Sino-American relations."

China considers the Dalai Lama a separatist intent on ending Chinese rule over Tibet. The Dalai Lama denies this.