BEIJING — China has lodged a formal complaint with the Obama administration over a resolution passed Wednesday by the House of Representatives urging China to “cease its repression of the Tibetan people” and “to respond to the Dalai Lama’s initiatives to find a lasting solution to the Tibetan issue.”
The nonbinding resolution, timed to mark the 50th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, passed 422 to 1.
“The Chinese government and people are strongly dissatisfied with and resolutely opposed to the approval of a Tibet resolution by the U.S. Congress,” Ma Zhaoxu, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said at a news conference on Thursday as he discussed the formal complaint. The resolution, he said, “makes groundless accusations against China’s religious policies” and “rudely intervenes in China’s internal affairs.”
The Chinese regard the tensions in Tibet as an internal problem and chafe at foreign support for the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader forced to flee Tibet when the 1959 uprising was crushed. The Dalai Lama advocates for genuine Tibetan autonomy, not independence, even though Beijing accuses him of supporting separatism.
The anniversary is a particularly delicate time for Tibet. An uprising there this time last year was the largest rebellion against Chinese rule in decades. Beijing, fearful of a repeat, has locked down much of western China with troops and police officers. Foreigners have been barred from the areas, and information has been hard to come by. No reports of large-scale protests have emerged this week.
Xinhua, the state news agency, ran several articles and editorials on its Web site on Thursday denouncing the resolution. One said the resolution “disregards the history and reality of the Chinese autonomous region by trying to justify Tibet’s dark ages, glorify the treacherous Dalai Lama and baselessly criticize China’s religious policy.”
On Tuesday, the Dalai Lama, 73, attacked Chinese policies in Tibet in unusually harsh terms, saying China had transformed his homeland into a “hell on earth.”
The row over the resolution is the second one to emerge between China and the United States this week. On Monday, the Pentagon said it had lodged a formal complaint with Beijing because five Chinese ships had harassed an American surveillance vessel in international waters off the southern coast of China. The Chinese maintain that the American vessel, the Impeccable, was illegally conducting surveillance in waters under their jurisdiction.
The naval spat and tensions over Tibet come as China’s foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, is meeting with American leaders in Washington. He met with President Obama on Thursday. In a meeting on Wednesday, Mr. Yang and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton discussed Tibet and the naval dispute.
The Tibetan movement for greater autonomy draws bipartisan support among American politicians. The resolution on Tibet was written by Representative Rush Holt, a Democrat from New Jersey, and had strong backing from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The two met with the Dalai Lama in March 2008 as part of a Congressional trip to India. In 2007, former President George W. Bush presented the Dalai Lama with the Congressional Gold Medal.
The dissenting vote was cast by Representative Ron Paul, Republican of Texas.