News / Asia

Obama to Host Dalai Lama at White House

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama speaks before members of the Japanese parliament, at the upper house members' office building in Tokyo, November 13, 2012.
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama speaks before members of the Japanese parliament, at the upper house members' office building in Tokyo, November 13, 2012.
President Barack Obama will host exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the White House Friday, despite a stern warning from China.
 
The White House said late Thursday that Obama is meeting the Dalai Lama "in his capacity as a respected religious and cultural leader."
 
A statement said the U.S. supports the Dalai Lama's so-called "middle way" approach of neither assimilation nor independence for Tibetans in China.
 
China's foreign ministry quickly urged the U.S. to cancel the meeting. Spokeswoman Hua Chunying warned of serious diplomatic repercussions.
 
"The Dalai is a political exile who has long used the cloak of religion to engage in anti-China, separatist activities. The United States' arrangement for its leader to meet the Dalai would be a gross interference in China's internal affairs and is a serious violation of the norms of international affairs. It will also seriously damage Sino-U.S. relations," said Hua.
 
China issued similar threats against the U.S. following meetings between Obama and the Dalai Lama in 2010 and 2011.
 
The visits did not significantly impact U.S.-China relations then, and analysts such as John Powers, an Asian studies professor at the Australian National University, said this upcoming meeting is unlikely to do so now.
 
"China goes through the same sort of routine about protesting regularly and interference in China's internal affairs and things keep going the same way. Nothing ever really happens," said Powers.
 
Powers told VOA the visits and subsequent Chinese response have become "formulaic," with China, the U.S., and the Dalai Lama neither greatly benefiting nor suffering from the process.
 
Nonetheless, many rights groups have said it is important for the meetings to continue, in order to keep up global awareness of China's treatment of Tibetans.
 
Since February 2009, more than 126 people have self-immolated in traditionally Tibetan areas of China to protest Beijing's policy in their homeland.
 
Beijing has said the Dalai Lama is responsible for the wave of self-immolations, which it views as terrorism.
 
While the Dalai Lama and the India-based Central Tibetan Administration are outspoken critics of China, they have discouraged the suicide protests.
 
Tashi Phuntsok of the Central Tibetan Administration told VOA the responsibility for unrest in Tibet lies with Chinese authorities.
 
"Why are Tibetans protesting or self-immolating? It's very simple. Tibetans in Tibet after nearly 60 years under China do not feel free and therefore they are against the repression. And the world sees [this] very clearly," said Phuntsok.
 
Phuntsok said the meeting is "good for Tibet" and represents a "strong endorsement" of the policies of the Dalai Lama, who officially retired from his political role three years ago.
 
The Britain-based Free Tibet said in a statement President Obama "deserves praise" for holding the meeting. It said China has "no right to tell the leaders of democratic countries that they cannot meet anyone, let alone a spiritual leader and Nobel-laureate who is one of the world's leading advocates for peace."
 
Many Tibetans in China accuse the government of a campaign of religious and cultural persecution, as the country's majority Han ethnic group continues to move into historically Tibetan areas.
 
China rejects that, saying Tibetans enjoy religious freedom. Beijing also points to huge ongoing investment it says has brought modernization and an increased standard of living to Tibet.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid