British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will not receive the Dalai Lama at 10 Downing Street, a move seen by many as an effort to appease China, which has accused the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader of masterminding anti-Beijing protest in Lhasa.
Brown will, instead, meet the Dalai Lama in Lambeth Palace, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, enabling the Prime Minister to claim to the Chinese that he is receiving the exiled leader in spiritual rather than political capacity, The Times daily of Britain said today.
"As he said in Parliament, the Prime Minister intends to see the Dalai Lama. What is important is that they are meeting and will have a substantive conversation. It is also significant that the Chinese are engaging directly with representatives of the Dalai Lama, a spokesman at 10 Downing Street was quoted as saying by the London daily.
Brown told Parliament in March that he would meet the exiled leader when he visits Britain, angering China which accuses the India-based Buddhist monk of inspiring anti-Beijing protests in Tibet.
With regard to the meeting in Lambeth Palace instead of at Downing Street, the spokesman said: "He is a spiritual representative and it makes sense for the prime minister to meet with him." A number of other spiritual leaders are expected to be present at the meeting on May 23. The 72-year-old's 11-day visit to Britain begins on May 20.
Brown's decision has dismayed supporters of the Dalai Lama and has been criticised by British political leaders.