China Criticizes Canadian Move to Grant Dalai Lama Honorary Citizenship

China has criticized a vote by Canada's parliament last month to grant Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, honorary Canadian citizenship.

The political counselor at the Chinese embassy in Ottawa Zhang Weidong told reporters Wednesday that China has relayed its displeasure to the Canadian government. He said China views the Dalai Lama as a separatist and that honoring him will damage the relationship between China and Canada.

A spokeswoman at Canada's foreign ministry said Canada does not recognize Tibet's government-in-exile, but does recognize the Dalai Lama as an important spiritual leader.

This was just the third time that Canada has granted such honorary citizenship, with the two other recipients being former South African leader Nelson Mandela and Raoul Wallenberg, who is credited for his role in saving the lives of Hungarian Jews during World War Two.