China is still uptight about anyone being friendly with exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, especially at a public event in the world’s most powerful Western country.
On Thursday, China’s sensitivities were indeed offended as attendance to the National Prayer Breakfast included the head Buddhist monk, and where the President of the United States gave a controversial and highly criticized speech which touched on some of the uglier aspects of American history and called on it’s citizens to be more tolerant of religious minorities.
After Mr. Obama was done laying out his idyllic vision for America’s moral role in the 21st century, China felt the need to acknowledge that one of their enemies witnessed the speech firsthand.
The Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying, “(w)e oppose any other country’s decision to provide platforms for Dalai’s visit, and we oppose any foreign leaders’ meeting with Dalai.” The Dalai Lama has been living in exile since 1959 after a failed rebellion against the Chinese communists in the Tibetan capital city of Lhasa. While President Obama called the Lama a “good friend”, the Chinese government’s nationalistic policies call for a less cordial response as demonstrated by the editorial board of the country’s official news agency:
“Any possible meeting or encounter between the two is sure to have negative consequences,” it read. “Chumming with a secessionist is playing with fire, which severely harms the mutual trust between China and the United States, and downgrades Obama’s credit as a national leader for breaking his commitments to China on the Tibet issue.”
This was the first public meeting between the president and Dalai Lama in Obama’s tenure.
[Washington Post] [AP] [Photo courtesy Evan Vucci/AP]