Despite objections from China, U.S. President Barack Obama met with Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama of Tibet this week. Prior to the meeting Chinese officials including the countries Foreign Minister asked the President to rescind his invitation.
The two men met for a 45-minute private session in which Obama told the Dalai Lama that he supported the protection of human rights in Tibet and the preservation of the Tibetan religion along with their cultural and linguistic traditions.
During their meeting Obama did tell the Dalai Lama that he did not believe in an independent Tibet, stressing the US relations with China which he called vital.
In notes from the conversation the Dalai Lama said of his visit:
“Firstly we developed a very close sort of feeling for each other” and then said of Obama’s remakrd about human rights, “So naturally he shows genuine concern about suffering in Tibet and other places.”
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said of the meeting “We firmly oppose any foreign official to meet with the Dalai Lama in any form.”
Thousands of Human rights violations in Tibet at the hands of the Chinese government have been reported for years in the region as the Chinese government has attempted to claim religious authority over the area and its citizens. In many cases claims of murder and torture have been revealed.