05/14/2012 07:16 EDT | Updated 07/14/2012 05:12 EDT

Dalai Lama alleges China tried to poison him

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says China trained female Tibetan agents to kill him by putting poison in their hair and scarves, which he might touch during a blessing.

"We received some sort of information from Tibet," he told Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper in broken English. "Some Chinese agents training some Tibetans, especially women, you see, using poison the hair poisoned, and the scarf poisoned — they were supposed to seek blessing from me, and my hand touch … I don't know whether 100 per cent correct or not. There is no possibility to cross-check."

China, which has ruled Tibet since 1950, said the accusations weren't worth rebutting, adding that the Dalai Lama generally spreads false information.

"The Dalai always wears religious clothes while carrying out anti-China separatist activities in the global community, spreading false information and deceiving the public," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a routine daily news briefing.

In Beijing, the tabloid the Global Times further scorned the allegations in a commentary, saying that if China had wanted to kill the Dalai Lama, it could have done so any time without waiting until he was 76 years old.

Hundreds of thousands of people take pilgrimages each year to the northern Indian town of Dharmsala, where the Dalai Lama lives under tight security. Huge crowds also surround him during his travels abroad. The Tibetan leader usually places his hand over the heads of devotees seeking his blessing. The spiritual leader fled to India in 1959.

He told the Telegraph he may end up being the last Dalai Lama because of Chinese interference in finding his reincarnation after his death.

The Dalai Lama was in London to collect the $1.8-million Templeton Prize, awarded annually to someone who has encouraged common ground between science and religion.

The prize is named after Sir John Templeton, a U.S.-born British investor who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1987 for his philanthropy. He died in 2008.