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Barack Obama ignores Chinese anger and greets the Dalai Lama at the White House

Posted by Author on February 19, 2010

The Times Online, UK, Feb. 19, 2010-

President Obama and the Dalai Lama spent more than an hour together in the White House yesterday, out of sight of the press but aware that Beijing regards their meeting as an infringement of Chinese sovereignty.

As a large crowd of Tibetan supporters — and smaller groups of Chinese — gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue, the exiled Tibetan leader made up for his failure to secure an invitation from Mr Obama on his last trip to Washington with a long discussion of religious freedom and human rights that he said showed the President’s “genuine concern” for Tibet.

The meeting may jeopardise longstanding American efforts to secure Chinese co-operation on Iran, North Korea and climate change, but Mr Obama had little choice but to welcome the Dalai Lama: he was harshly criticised from both the Left and the Right for ruling out a meeting in October, and his deferential approach to Beijing since then has yielded little except accusations of appearing weak on the world stage.

There was no joint press conference or photo call after the Map Room meeting — only a written statement from Mr Obama’s press secretary, calculated as much to mollify China as to show backing for Tibetan autonomy.

“The President stated his strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China,” the statement said.

For Tibetans living under Chinese rule, the fact of the meeting was enough. In a remote Himalayan monastery where communications are strictly limited, lamas heard yesterday that their god-king was to meet Mr Obama, and they were rejoicing…….(The Times)

One Response to “Barack Obama ignores Chinese anger and greets the Dalai Lama at the White House”

  1. Excellent news.

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