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China angry as MP quizzes Dalai Lama over Tibet riots

PUBLISHED: 17:33 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:37 12 August 2010

LONDON - MAY 23:  The Dalai Lama (L) meets with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at Lambeth Palace on May 23, 2008 in London, United Kingdom. The Dalai Lama held closed-door talks Mr Brown, who has faced a diplomatic balancing act between backing Tibetan rights while not offending Beijing. The meeting -- held not in Brown's Downing Street office, but at a clerical residence nearby -- was the most contentious part of an 11-day visit to Britain by the Tibetan spiritual leader, who is on a five-nation tour. (Photo by Carl de Souza-pool/Getty Images)

LONDON - MAY 23: The Dalai Lama (L) meets with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at Lambeth Palace on May 23, 2008 in London, United Kingdom. The Dalai Lama held closed-door talks Mr Brown, who has faced a diplomatic balancing act between backing Tibetan rights while not offending Beijing. The meeting -- held not in Brown's Downing Street office, but at a clerical residence nearby -- was the most contentious part of an 11-day visit to Britain by the Tibetan spiritual leader, who is on a five-nation tour. (Photo by Carl de Souza-pool/Getty Images)

2008 Getty Images

THE Chinese government is furious with an MP after he met the Dalai Lama. Orpington Conservative MP John Horam consulted the spiritual and political leader of Tibet in Lambeth Palace last month as part of his membership of the Foreign Affairs Select C

THE Chinese government is "furious" with an MP after he met the Dalai Lama.

Orpington Conservative MP John Horam consulted the spiritual and political leader of Tibet in Lambeth Palace last month as part of his membership of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. But the Chinese Embassy was furious that the MP interviewed the Buddhist leader about the riots which rocked the border between Tibet and China last March.

Mr Horam said: "The Dalai Lama wants an independent inspection of what happened in Tibet because he admitted he didn't know how many people had been killed in the riots.

"I got a furious letter from the Chinese Embassy. They said when he was questioned he admitted he did not know what happened in the riots. They shot themselves in the foot.

"Media are not allowed into the whole of Tibet, so it is difficult to get a balanced perspective.

"China, as we know, is not a democratic country. We don't know to what extent it clamps down on rioters.

"They said the Dalai Lama hadn't been there for 50 years. They were furious we had interviewed him at all.

"The Foreign Affairs Select Committee has been to China and to Tibet. Every year, we have a report on human rights around the world. It is to ensure our government is doing what it can to protect human rights.

"We want to see the Prime Minister back us on the independent inspection on the riots."

On the Dalai Lama, Mr Horam added: "He is a shrewd old chap and is full of charm. He has good diplomatic skills. I am sure a lifetime in international diplomacy had made him adept at questions.

"I asked him a question about whether he was disappointed with Gordon Brown for not meeting him at Number 10.

"He said he would be happy seeing him anywhere.

"The fact that Gordon Brown hasn't seen him at Number 10 shows he was trying to keep the Chinese onside, obviously for trade reasons.

"We were disappointed by that. John Major met him at Number 10 and George Bush met him at the White House."

Mr Horam is now penning his response to the Chinese Embassy.

A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "The meeting at Lambeth Palace highlights the status of the Dalai Lama as a respected spiritual leader."

Representatives of the exiled Dalai Lama were due to meet Chinese government officials in Beijing yesterday.

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