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Obama-Lama meeting to go ahead despite Chinese appeals

China calls on the US to withdraw the Dalai Lama’s invitation to the White House, but the meeting will go ahead.

The Dalai Lama is set to visit the White House today, despite Chinese opposition.
The Dalai Lama is set to visit the White House today, despite Chinese opposition.
Image: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

THE DALAI LAMA will today visit the White House for a meeting with President Barack Obama – after the United States snubbed a Chinese request that the invitation be withdrawn.

The Tibetan leader is in Washington for an 11-day Buddhist ritual, the AP reported, but the invitation to the White House was issued on a relatively last-minute basis.

That invitation met with outrage from China, which has long accused the US of meddling in its internal affairs. Tibet is officially a part of China but enjoys moderate autonomy and has long sought full independence.

The Financial Times said an Obama aide had admitted the question of Tibet’s political status was likely to be discussed, further incensing China.

“The issue regarding Tibet concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and we firmly oppose any foreign official to meet with the Dalai Lama in any form,” Xinhua quoted a government spokesman as saying.

China accuses the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prizewinner, of promoting violence to try and force full Tibetan independence. The Dalai Lama, born Lhamo Dondrub, retired as Tibet’s political head earlier this year.

Gallery: The Dalai Lama in his own words and pictures >

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Gavan Reilly

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