Gordon Brown promised to encourage greater reconciliation between the Chinese government and the people of Tibet during a meeting with the Dalai Lama yesterday.
But Tibetan campaign groups expressed deep anger at the Prime Minister's decision to break with recent tradition and not meet the Tibetan spiritual leader at Downing Street, choosing instead to host the personal meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace.
Downing Street described the meeting as "warm and constructive" and said Mr Brown sought the views of the Dalai Lama "as a spiritual leader", as well as discussing human rights in Tibet and the Chinese earthquake.
The Chinese government has placed a media blackout on Tibet after some of the worst political violence to hit the region in decades broke out in March.
The Dalai Lama has publicly played down not being able to meet the Prime Minister in a more official capacity.
But Lhadon Tethong, the leader of Students for a Free Tibet, said : "Tibetans round the world are deeply disappointed that Britain's Prime Minister would take such a massive step backwards at such a crucial time for the Tibetan people ... the Prime Minister has effectively given the Chinese government the green light to oppress Tibetans."