BEIJING - China has effectively ruled out dialogue with the Tibetan government-in-exile's new prime minister, saying it will only meet with representatives of the Dalai Lama and will limit any talks to the Tibetan spiritual leader's future.
The remarks by Zhu Weiqun, a vice minister of the Chinese Communist Party's United Front Work Department -- which has led unsuccessful on-off talks with the Dalai Lama's envoys -- are Beijing's strongest reaction yet to the election of Harvard law scholar Lobsang Sangay as Tibet's new prime minister in exile.
In excerpts of Zhu's interview, carried on the website of the China News Service on Thursday ahead of publication in state-owned magazine "China's Tibet" this weekend, Zhu said the exiled government was an illegal group with no recognition.
"We have two basic points when it comes to contacts and negotiations. The first is that the capacity of the other side can only be as the Dalai Lama's private representatives," the article cited Zhu as saying.