President Obama’s Words To The Dalai Lama At Prayer Breakfast Ruffles Chinese Gov’t. Feathers

President Obama’s kind words towards the Dalai Lama seemed to irritate some in the Chinese government.

China Daily is reporting that the way the President welcomed the Dalai Lama at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, and the harboring of someone the Chinese government claims to be secessionist, is causing “unnecessary provocation” that could harm further China-U.S. relationships, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

During the Prayer Breakfast, President Obama described the Dalai Lama as “a good friend,” and “a powerful example of what it means to practice compassion and who inspires us to speak up for the freedom and dignity of all human beings.”

Hong Lei put other countries on notice concerning getting involved in Tibet-related affairs by lambasting the United States for their participation in this visit.

The Guardian is reporting Hong was quoted as saying, “The Dalai Lama is a political exile who has been engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the guise of religion, (His) attempt to seek foreign support is doomed to fail.”

The biggest issue is that the Chinese government is accusing both the Dalai Lama and President Obama of politicizing the plight of Tibet under the guise of religion and faith. While praising the Dalai Lama’s peaceful works, Obama did make mention of those who would use faith as a cudgel rather than a helping hand. One example Obama cited was the attack on the Charlie Hebdo staff at their offices in Paris.

Jia Xiudong, a senior researcher on international affairs at the China Institute of International Studies, said the Dalai Lama has pursued a political goal, which is separating Tibet from China, under the guise of religion.

“Any form of politicians’ meeting with the Dalai Lama is a violation of the US commitment to Beijing of acknowledging China’s sovereignty over Tibet,” Jia said. He added, “The Dalai Lama’s visit to the US aimed at drawing support from politicians and also misleading the public.”

The state newswire Xinhua wrote in a commentary just before the meeting, “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.” Xinhua continued, “What lies under their hypocritical relationship is nothing but political deals and cold calculations.”

The Dalai Lama has been quoted numerous times in the past that he is “not seeking independence from the People’s Republic of China,” even stating he is prepared to accept China’s government structure and constitution, per the Wall Street Journal.

[Image courtesy of the Wall Street Journal/Associated Press]