Chinese official warns about Tibet interference

A senior Chinese negotiator in talks with the Dalai Lama said Tuesday that his country wants strong ties with the United States but warned that Tibet's future is for China, not foreign governments, to settle. Si Ta, vice minister of the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee, said he and his delegation are visiting the United States to meet government officials and lawmakers and to "oppose the internationalization of the so-called Tibet question." "Some people try to interfere in the internal affairs of China," Si Ta, a Tibetan, told reporters at the Chinese Embassy in Washington. "We'd like to make it clear to them that the Tibet question is not about religion and human rights. It is about the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country." "We need to tell the truth to the world," he said. The Chinese government wants to stop international adulation of the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism who last year received the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal from US lawmakers and who regularly meets with world leaders. The Dalai Lama is lauded in much of the world as a figure of moral authority, but Beijing demonizes the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and claims he seeks to destroy China's sovereignty by pushing for independence for Tibet.