China blasts India over Dalai Lama visit to disputed area

China is criticizing India for allowing the Dalai Lama to visit a disputed border region, saying it did not consider the incident a purely internal Indian affair.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters Wednesday that the visit by the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader "severely harms China's interests and the China-India relationship." Hua rejected arguments that the visit was solely religious in nature, and said China would lodge a formal protest with New Delhi.

India said Tuesday that China should not interfere in its internal affairs, as the Dalai Lama began a weeklong visit to Arunachal Pradesh in India's remote northeast.

The Tibetan spiritual leader was greeted by cheering supporters as he arrived in the partly ethnically Tibetan Himalayan state that China claims as its own territory.