The Chinese government reacts with fury to any gesture of recognition given to the Dalai who fled the country into exile in 1959 and whom it regularly accuses of trying to "split" Tibet from the rest of China.
"This will be the first time that a sitting U.S. president will appear with the Dalai Lama in a public event," the International Campaign for Tibet said. Bush has previously met with the Dalai Lama at the White House.
The Dalai Lama who fled into exile in India after a failed uprising against communist rule in 1959 is branded by China as a "separatist." The Nobel Peace Prize winner says he only wants greater autonomy for the region.
The award ceremony will come just weeks after Bush's current efforts to try to persuade China to influence the military rulers of Myanmar to stop using force against protesters and to release political prisoners.
The award of the Congressional Gold Medal has been perceived by some as a sign of a more anti-Chinese mood in Washington. Nancy Pelosi, the new Democratic House Speaker, has a long record of attacking China over its human rights record, and was once arrested in Tiananmen Square for staging a protest. "The United States must continue to be committed to meeting the challenge that Tibet makes to the conscience of the world," she said.