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Obama risks angering 1.3 billion Chinese people by meeting the Dalai Lama, warns Beijing

Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
We come in peace.
By Josh Horwitz
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

US president Barack Obama is preparing to meet with the Dalai Lama at the White House today (June 15), and China has already expressed its discontent.

Yesterday at a routine press briefing by China’s foreign ministry, spokesperson Lu Kang told media: “Under the cloak of religion, the 14th Dalai Lama peddles his political ambitions of dividing China all around the world. We ask all countries and governments not to give him any room to carry out such campaigns, even less risking arousing the firm opposition from the 1.3 billion Chinese people.”

It’s unclear what Obama and the exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader will discuss. Media have been barred from covering the event. But it is one of several meetings that Obama has held with the Dalai Lama since becoming president.

In February 2015 Obama acknowledged the Dalai Lama’s presence at a national prayer breakfast in Washington, referring to him as “a powerful example of what it means to practice compassion.”

Before that, Obama had met with the Dalai Lama in person three times—in February 2014, February 2012, and July 2011. Each of those meetings was also held behind closed doors. China expressed its opposition to the sessions before each occasion, but to little ultimate consequence.

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