Exiled Tibetan leader’s visit to White House called interference in Chinese affairs.
George Bush, the US president, presented the spritual leader with the award despite objections from China, who accuses the Dalai Lama of being a separatist.
“Today, I wish to share with you all my sincere hope that the future of Tibet and China will move beyond mistrust on a relationship based on mutual respect and recognition of common interests.”
Meanwhile, Bush said that he had explained to Hu Jintao, the Chinese president, and the leadership in Beijing, why he attended the award ceremony.
He said: “They didn’t like it, of course. But I don’t think it’s going to damage, severely damage, relations.
“I have consistently told the Chinese that religious freedom is in their nation’s interest. I’ve also told them that it’s in their interest to meet with the Dalai Lama and will say so at the ceremony.”
China pulled out of a meeting this week where world powers were to discuss Iran, in apparent protest at congress’s plan to honour the Dalai Lama with its highest civilian award.
China had also cancelled an annual human-rights dialogue with Germany to show displeasure over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s September meeting with the Dalai Lama.
Tibet has been ruled by China since Communist troops invaded the country in 1950.
Ye Xiaowen, director-general of the state administration for religious affairs, said: “The protagonist of this farce is the Dalai Lama.”
The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since fleeing his predominantly Buddhist homeland in 1959 after a failed uprising against communist rule.
Beijing’s rhetoric against the Dalai Lama has increased of late, even though the Chinese government is engaged in dialogue with his envoys.