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'Tibet exile govt 'illegal' after vote'

world Updated: Apr 28, 2011 15:31 IST

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China on Thursday attacked the Tibetan government-in-exile as "illegal" following the election of a new prime minister to take over the organisation's political duties from the ageing Dalai Lama.

"The so-called Tibetan government-in-exile is an illegal political organisation established by the Dalai Lama to engage in independence and separatist activities," foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

"No country in the world recognises it," he said, when asked to comment on the election of Lobsang Sangay.

Tibetan exiles elected the 43-year-old Harvard academic as their new prime minister after the Dalai Lama, 75, said he would give up his political duties but continue to be a spiritual leader.

Sangay, an international law expert, easily beat two other candidates for the post, securing 55 percent of the vote, the government-in-exile said on Wednesday from its base in Dharamshala.

China last month accused the Dalai Lama of playing "tricks" on the world after the Buddhist monk announced plans to step down as political head of the exiled Tibetan government.

The Dalai Lama was just 15 in 1950 when Chinese troops moved into Tibet. He fled his homeland in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.