Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama to visit the White House to meet with Barack Obama

China has called for the US to cancel the meeting between the Dalai Lama and President Obama arranged to take place at the White House later today.

A statement from officials in China claims the Dalai Lama is a "wolf in sheep's clothing" and that no other country should be involved in the dispute between China and Tibet.

The Dalai Lama is the Tibetan spiritual leader and remains in exile for taking part in an uprising against China in the 1950s.

During the meeting, it is believed he will voice concern about China's human rights practices.

Leaders in China claim the meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama will impair relations between China and the US.

"The United States' arrangement for its leader to meet the Dalai would be a gross interference in China's internal affairs and is a serious violation of the norms of international relations," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement.

"It will seriously damage Sino-US relations. We urge the United States to take seriously China's concerns, immediately cancel plans for the US leader to meet the Dalai, do not facilitate and provide a platform for Dalai's anti-China separatist activities in the United States.

"China is greatly concerned about the meeting, and has lodged solemn representations to the US side."

Obama has met with the Dalai Lama on two previous occasions, once in February 2010 and again in July 2011.

President Obama
China has urged US to cancel meeting with Obama Reuters

Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said: "We will continue to urge the Chinese government to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, as a means to reduce tensions."

In response to China's comments, Free Tibet said in a statement: "China has – as it well knows - no right to tell the leaders of democratic countries that they cannot meet anyone, let alone a spiritual leader and Nobel-laureate who is one of the world's leading advocates for peace.

"What China is trying to do is draw a line in the sand: if it can succeed in this, Beijing knows it controls the agenda on Tibet. The rest of the world needs to treat this not as a point of principle from China but a negotiating position: when our leaders push back, China will fall back.

"In this context, President Obama deserves praise for holding this meeting and for having met with the Dalai Lama on several occasions as President despite China's bluster.

"Nevertheless, the Dalai Lama is no longer a political leader and what occupied-Tibet needs is not only symbolic acts like this meeting but robust and public support for political progress. Free Tibet also welcomes the concern expressed by the State Department over human rights abuses in Tibet but we regret that the US has reiterated its position that Tibet is part of China: that is a matter for the Tibetan people to determine, not Washington or Beijing."