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Special> China's Tibet: Facts & Figures> Latest
UPDATED: February 20, 2010
Obama-Dalai Lama Meeting Interferes in China's Internal Affairs: Tibetologists
China urged the United States early Friday morning to take concrete actions for healthy development of bilateral ties

Tibetologists said Friday the Obama-Dalai Lama meeting was apparently "interference in China's internal affairs" and "defiance of China's state sovereignty."

Despite China's strong opposition, U.S. President Barack Obama met Thursday with the Dalai Lama in Washington. China urged the United States early Friday morning to take concrete actions for healthy development of bilateral ties.

Du Yongbin, a researcher with the China Tibetology Research Center, told Xinhua that no nation in the world recognizes "Tibet independence," nor does any country deem the Dharamsala-based "Tibet government-in-exile" legal, and all U.S. presidents and governments publicly acknowledge that Tibet is a part of the Chinese territory.

While the White House said Obama met the Dalai Lama in his so-called "religious identity", Du said it was just "diplomatic manoeuvres".

The Dalai Lama's religious and political identities could not be separated, as he is not only a living Buddha of the Gelug sect of the Tibetan Buddhism, but also the de facto leader of the theocratic "government-in-exile," he said.

The meeting aimed to contain China by playing the "Tibet Card," Du said, adding when the Dalai Lama went to Washington last October, Obama did not meet him for purpose of making his ensuing first China visit successful.

The Thursday meeting is actually fulfillment of Obama's promise to the Dalai Lama that he would meet him later, Du said, adding Obama had been under pressure from the U.S. hardliners and its advocates of "Tibet issue".

Since 1991 when then U.S. President George H. W. Bush became the first U.S. president to meet the Dalai Lama, there had been 11 meetings between U.S. presidents and the Dalai Lama before Obama took office.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement it was regardless of China's repeated solemn representations for the U.S. to obstinately arrange the meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama.

"The U.S. act grossly violated the norms governing the international relations, and ran counter to the principles set forth in the three China-U.S. joint communiques and the China-U.S. joint statement," he said.

It also went against the repeated commitments by the U.S. government that the U.S. recognizes Tibet as part of China and gives no support to "Tibet independence," he said.

Prof. Zhu Feng of the Peking University said the meeting was considered as a gesture shown to the U.S. public and the international community that the current U.S. administration would pay attention to the "Tibet issue" and "sympathize" and "understand" the "government-in-exile" as previous governments did.

The Dalai Lama is a "human rights defender" in westerners' eyes and they believe human rights is the core of the "Tibet issue," Zhu said.

"Especially at a time when Obama is highly disputed in domestic politics, to abandon or delay the meeting with the Dalai Lama will, to a great extent, intensify criticism on Obama," he said.

The meeting was carried out in the Map Room in the White House instead of the Oval Office which symbolizes the presidential power.

It means, on one hand, Obama intended to tell Americans that he had "shown respect" to the Dalai Lama; on the other hand, he did not want to "offend China too much," Zhu said.

The 75-year-old Dalai Lama was originally named Lhamo Thondup, and he was conferred the title of the 14th Dalai Lama in 1940.

After launching and having failed an armed rebellion in March 1959, he fled to India and formed a so-called "Tibet government-in-exile."

In the guise of religion, the Dalai Lama has since then been involved in activities aimed to separate China and to undermine Tibet's social stability.

The U.S. declassified diplomatic archives have disclosed that the U.S. plotted and supported the 1959 armed rebellion in Tibet.

Wang Xiaobin, a scholar with the China Tibetology Research Center, said the U.S. president's meeting with the Dalai Lama was only one form of U.S. government's support to the Dalai clique.

"When China is a weak nation, western politicians do not want to see the Dalai Lama or meet him in a low-key manner; but when China becomes stronger, western heavyweights meet the Dalai Lama publicly in high profile. The motive is obvious," Wang said.

"The Dalai Lama aims to 'drape himself in a tiger-skin to intimidate people' when he meets with western state heads," Du said.

He said the Dalai Lama used the West as his "patron" to seek financial support for his "Tibet Independence" cause, to keep the "Tibet issue" a hot topic, attract people's attention to it and increase his bargaining counters in contacts and talks with the central government.

Prof. Men Honghua with the Party School of Communist Party of China Central Committee said the Dalai Lama's act boasts high degree of political sensitivity, considering the history of his flee to India and the Dalai clique's attempt to separate China.

"Over the past years, the Dalai Lama strolled in many countries, using his religious status, Tibetans' Buddhist complex and such factors as human rights, religion and autonomy, to seek sympathy and support from foreign dignitaries and realize his political dream of building 'Greater Tibet' and separate the nation," Men said.

The U.S. "Tibet policies" boast two sides, Du said, "and its words are not matched by actions." Prof. Zhu Feng said Thursday's meeting did not indicate any substantial change in the U.S. policies towards the "Tibet issue."

"The U.S. official papers and government admit that Tibet is part of China, but congressmen, State Department officials and the president support Tibetan exile and the 'government-in-exile,' in action" he said.


The Chinese public remained sober on Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama. Analytical opinion posts about the meeting were mounting Friday in online forums.

"The meeting cannot hurt China but intends to shame China. The more angry we are, the more they will use such tricks," netizen "AVICC" said at the huanqiu.com.

"The meeting will not change anything, as Tibet is part of China and it develops fast. We support China's solemn protests," said "472993866" on Tianya.

(Xinhua News Agency February 19, 2010)

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