• The Dalai Lama is welcomed by European Parliament president Martin Schulz at his arrival at the European Parliament.

The Dalai Lama is welcomed by European Parliament president Martin Schulz at his arrival at the European Parliament. (Photo : European Parliament)

China has threatened unspecified punishments against the European Parliament (EP), the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union (EU), in a display of juvenile pique after the Dalai Lama spoke before the EP at the French city of Strasbourg and met its president, Martin Schulz.

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The Dalai Lama, whose real name is Tenzin Gyatso, is both the spiritual and head of government of Tibet. China conquered Tibet in 1950 under the pretext of a "peaceful liberation." The Tibetans rose against the Chinese in the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion.

This rebellion was crushed and the Dalai Lama fled to India. He established the Tibetan government-in-exile in India in 1959.

He has been in exile since but remains the spiritual and temporal head of Tibetans fighting for a restoration of Tibetan independence. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

China said it was angry at the European Parliament, and by extension the EU and threatened punitive measures against both after the Dalai Lama spoke at the European Parliament.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the European Parliament and Schulz ignored China's "strong opposition" about meeting the Dalai Lama. He incredibly claimed Schulz's action was against alleged EU promises to China on the issue of Tibet.

Lu also said this erroneous position by the parliament's had damaged China's core interests.

"China is resolutely opposed to the mistaken actions of the European Parliament," said Lu.

"China absolutely cannot remain indifferent, and we will make the correct choice in accordance with our judgment of the situation."

Lu didn't specify what China's countermeasures would be but will probably be limited to more harsh words but no specific actions that will threaten its massive trade with the EU. The EU will defend its parliament against China and will certainly strike back at any Chinese attempts to punish the European Parliament.

The Dalai Lama told the European Parliament he hoped the Tibetan issue will be resolved and urged the outside world and the European Union in particular not to hold back from criticizing Beijing.

Rights groups and exiles accuse China of trampling on the religious and cultural rights of the Tibetan people. China is engaged in a decades-long effort to stamp out Tibetan culture and replace it with the Han culture.