China is considering countermeasures after the Dalai Lama spoke at the European Parliament on 15 September. The 80-year-old spiritual leader is viewed by the Chinese government as a separatist, however, he insists that he only wants autonomy for his homeland of Tibet.
Foreign leaders have become cautious about meeting with the Dalai Lama in recent times, due to fear of provoking a strong reaction from China. However, the European Parliament appeared to welcome him with open arms in Strasbourg last week, where he also met President Martin Schulz and Foreign Affairs Chairman Elmar Brok.
In response, China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on 19 September: "China is resolutely opposed to the mistaken actions of the European Parliament. China absolutely cannot remain indifferent and we will make the correct choice in accordance with our judgement of the situation."
Kang spoke out against the European Parliament and President Schultz for ignoring China's "strong opposition" to the meeting with the Dalai Lama, accusing them of taking a position that damages China's core national interests. However, he did not provide any further details on what action China might take in response.
Speaking at the European Parliament, the Dalai Lama said: "I admire the spirit of the European Union and would like to see such a union in Africa and Asia. In relation to our own problems in Tibet, we are not seeking separation from the People's Republic of China; we are not splittists, although that's what Chinse hard-liners continue to accuse us of being."
Earlier this year, China reacted angrily when the Dalai Lama met with US President Barack Obama for a private talk behind closed doors. At the time, China had warned the US not to go ahead with the meeting or "give any space to any individual or behaviour which tries to... split China".
China has been accused of repressing Tibetan religion and culture, as well as preventing them from gaining from economic development. The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since 1959 after a failed uprising in Tibet.