China has dismissed an appeal from U.S. lawmakers to open negotiations with representatives of the Dalai Lama and accused Washington of support for Tibetan separatists.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu released a statement late Saturday, calling the Tibet issue as well as dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama internal affairs of China. She added that the United States should stop, in her words, "conniving with the Dalai Lama and separatist forces" for Tibetan independence.
Jiang was commenting on a resolution passed unanimously last week by the U.S. Senate. The lawmakers called on the Chinese government and representatives of the Dalai Lama to move from dialogue to substantive negotiations. The resolution said the negotiations should address the legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people and provide them with genuine autonomy.
The Dalai Lama says he seeks greater autonomy for Tibet within the borders of China and not independence. Representatives of the exiled spiritual leader and the Chinese government are scheduled to meet in October as part of a series of talks that began six years ago.
But the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Samdhong Rinpoche, told VOA on Saturday that his government has not had any communication with Chinese officials since their last round of talks in July.
Samdhong Rinpoche said if the October talks do not yield progress, the Tibetan side is unlikely to continue the discussions. He said the Chinese side made unacceptable demands on the Dalai Lama at the most recent round of talks.
China has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama of fomenting riots and anti-China protests to disrupt this year's Beijing Olympic Games. The Dalai Lama voiced his support for the Games, and threatened to step down from his post if opposition to Chinese rule in Tibet turned violent.
Tibet's government in exile says more than 200 Tibetans may have been killed in China's crackdown on Tibetan protests and many remain missing following the March uprising.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.