China on Saturday accused the Dalai Lama of pursuing a "Greater Tibet" on one quarter of its territory, saying such a stance showed the exiled spiritual leader was not just a religious figure.
"The Dalai side still insist on establishing a so-called Greater Tibet on a quarter of China's territory," Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session in Beijing.
"They want to drive away the Chinese armed forces on Chinese territory and ask all non-Tibetans to relocate themselves, people who have long spent their lives in that part of Chinese territory," he said.
"You call this person a religious figure?"
He added that "the Dalai Lama is by no means merely a religious figure, but a political exile."
Yang's comments came amid simmering tensions as Tibet braces for the 50th anniversary next week of a failed uprising against Chinese rule which sent the Dalai Lama into exile in India.
"In developing relations with China, other countries should not allow the Dalai Lama to visit their countries or should not allow their territory to be used for the Dalai to be engaged in separatist activities for Tibet independence," Yang said.
"I think this is an integral part of the norms governing international relations."