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Barack Obama Meets With Dalai Lama Despite Tensions With China

First Posted: Feb 23, 2014 11:03 AM EST

President Barack Obama met with His Holiness Tenzin Gyatsu, the 15th Dalai Lama, yesterday, and in so doing, drew the ire of China, who already has a tenuous peace in place with the United States. 

The Guardian is reporting that China believes that the Dalai Lama is using the White House as a platform to promote "anti-Chinese activities," and Obama's meeting with the Buddhist spiritual leader yesterday drew an angry response from the heads of state in China... which seems to be the norm for the nation whenever Obama meets with the Dalai Lama. "China is firmly opposed to this," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement, adding that the meeting was "a gross interference in China's domestic politics" and "a severe violation of the principles of international relations. It will inflict grave damages upon the China-US relationship."

In the past, according to the Times of India, China has responded to world leaders meeting with the Dalai Lama with reprimands and sanctions, as they did to the U.K. in 2012, when Prime Minister David Cameron met with the Dalai Lama. Relations between the two countries only resumed when Cameron agreed to never meet with the Dalai Lama in the future.

So far, none of those types of sanctions have been imposed on the United States, but there's no telling if that will take place in the near future if Obama keeps meeting with His Holiness.

Either way, though, the Obama administration doesn't show any signs of caring about what China thinks about the matter. "We do not support Tibetan independence," said national security council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden in a statement. "The United States strongly supports human rights and religious freedom in China. We are concerned about continuing tensions and the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas of China."

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