Activism is not a hobby for Gaga. Through the years, she has broadcast her constant support for sexual assault victims, gender equality, and LGBT rights. These are causes which, contrary to what the Global Times writes, appeal deeply to at least some sections of young Chinese society.

Gaga’s meeting with the Dalai Lama deserves stands out in particular. Few business and famous people are willing to criticize the Chinese Communist Party’s suppression of human rights, so they can continue to access the country’s massive market.

This is true even if they’re willing to confront other governments. Mark Zuckerberg, for example, openly criticized Brazil’s shutdown on WhatsApp just months after publishing photos of himself with Lu Wei, China’s internet czar who has waged a war on open information on the web.

In the same op-ed, the Global Times concedes that Lady Gaga is an outlier:

In the past few years more and more western celebrities in all kinds of fields have avoided association with the Dalai Lama. The vastness of our market has commanded more respect, which is good for our country. The actions of Lady Gaga are out of the ordinary—but her strong character is unlikely to be widely imitated in the West. 

Lady Gaga’s estimated net worth is $275 million, even though much of her music is not available in China’s “vast” market, so perhaps she’s decided she just doesn’t need more money. Rather than being “politically naive,” her meeting with the Dalai Lama may be a carefully considered statement highlighting one of the Communist Party’s worst fears—she just doesn’t care what they think.

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