Beijing China warned the United States on Thursday that its honoring of the Dalai Lama "gravely undermined" relations between the two countries, demanding Washington stop supporting the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader and take steps to repair ties.
The Foreign Ministry statement was the most vociferous yet in weeks of protests against Congress' decision to award the Dalai Lama its highest civilian honor, personally bestowed by President Bush in a ceremony Wednesday.
"The move of the United States is a blatant interference with China's internal affairs which has severely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and gravely undermined the relations between China and the United States," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told reporters.
In a sign of Beijing's pique, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi also summoned U.S. Ambassador Clark Randt to formally protest the giving of the award.
The Dalai Lama is lauded in much of the world as a figure of moral authority, but China reviles him as a Tibetan separatist.