Beijing: A senior Chinese official on Thursday described the Dalai Lama as a "political monk" while criticising "certain foreign leaders" for meeting the Tibetan spiritual leader.
Xinhua news agency quoted Li Zhaoxing as saying: "Some foreign politicians said the Dalai Lama is a religious figure, but in fact he is a political exile. A very close friend ... who served an important post in the US government said the Dalai Lama was a political monk."
Li is spokesman for the annual session of China`s top legislature, the National People`s Congress.
Addressing reporters a day before the NPC opens, Li said: "Why did the Dalai Lama propose a `Greater Tibet` and keep the `government-in-exile` with a so-called Constitution while claiming he is not in support of `Tibet independence`?"
He asserted that Tibet was "an inalienable part of China" and the region has recorded social and economic progress since the Communists took control of the region in 1959, sending the Dalai Lama fleeing to India.
"They (foreigners) lacked proper understanding about Tibet`s history and present," Li said.
Some foreign leaders intended to use the Tibetan issues to interfere in China`s internal affairs, he said.
Citing a poem by the sixth Dalai Lama, Li said: "Lies always look flamboyant and smell fragrant, so we must be cautious."
Li`s comments came a fortnight after President Barack Obama met the Dalai Lama at the White House, triggering an angry reaction from Beijing which accused the US of "grossly interfering" in the country`s internal affairs and "damaging" Sino-US ties.
Brushing off Chinese warnings, Obama met the Dalai Lama to express his "strong support" for human rights and religious freedom in Tibet while encouraging a direct dialogue between the Tibetans and China.
The Dalai Lama has lived since 1959 in India, which is also home to some 100,000 Tibetan exiles. The Dalai Lama`s government-in-exile, which is not recognised by any country, is based in the Indian hill town Dharamsala.