US Awards Medal to Dalai Lama

Public display angers Chinese government
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2007 4:25 PM CDT
The Dalai Lama, right, accompanied by actor Richard Gere, second from left, and others, greets the crowd on the West Side of the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007, after receiving the Congressional...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Congress awarded the Dalai Lama its highest civilian honor today, New York Times reports. At the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal, which went ahead despite vehement Chinese opposition, the Tibetan spiritual leader congratulated China on its economic growth and gently urged that the country embrace “transparency, the rule of law and freedom of information.”

Deflecting a frequent Chinese charge, the Lama said, “I’m not seeking independence from China," but instead “meaningful autonomy for Tibet.” Earlier, Beijing officials had condemned the American ceremony—at which President Bush, among others, spoke—as a "farce" and warned of the impact on Chinese-American relations. China, in protest, recently pulled out of a meeting of world powers on Iran.