Friday, February 19, 2010

Obama Meets Dalai Lama, and China Is Quick to Protest

President Obama met with the Dalai Lama on Thursday, welcoming the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader to the White House for a low-profile meeting that nonetheless raised the hackles of China.

The two men spoke about democracy, human rights and the need to preserve Tibet’s religious identity and culture — all issues that, predictably, irritated Beijing.

In a written statement, the White House said Mr. Obama had expressed 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 meeting, which the White House put off last year so as not to interfere with Mr. Obama’s trip to Beijing in November, is the latest evidence of the more muscular posture that the Obama administration has been adopting with China, after a year in which China has taken a firm stance in its relations with the United States on a number of issues.

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