BEIJING: China has accused the Dalai Lama of "deceiving the world" and "spreading false information" after Tibet's exiled spiritual leader said he was warned of a plot by Chinese agents to assassinate him.
The Buddhist monk made the allegation in an interview with Britain's Sunday Telegraph, saying he had been told that agents were planning to poison him using Tibetan women posing as devotees seeking his blessing.
"The Dalai Lama always engages in anti-China splittist activities globally wearing his religious cloak, spreading false information, deceiving the world and confusing the public," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.
"His most recent statement is not even worth refuting," he told reporters Monday.
Beijing routinely accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking to split Tibet from the rest of China - a claim the Nobel Peace Prize laureate denies, saying he only seeks greater autonomy for the Himalayan region.
Many Tibetans in China complain of political and religious persecution under Chinese rule - which Beijing denies - and this resentment has been blamed for a spate of self-immolations in Tibetan-inhabited areas since last year.
In his interview with the Sunday Telegraph, the Dalai Lama said he was told the Tibetan women supposedly trying to kill him would have their "hair poisoned and their scarf poisoned".
"They were supposed to seek blessing from me, and my hand touch," he said, adding on a visit to London on Monday that there was "no possibility to cross-check, so I don't know".
The Dalai Lama met with British Prime Minister David Cameron Monday, before receiving a $1.8 million prize honouring his efforts to encourage "serious scientific investigative reviews of the power of compassion". He said he would donate the Templeton Prize to charity.