February 11th, 2010
01:39 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama to meet with Dalai Lama on Feb. 18

President Barack Obama will meet with the Dalai Lama on February 18.
President Barack Obama will meet with the Dalai Lama on February 18.

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama will meet February 18 with the Dalai Lama, the White House announced Thursday.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced the meeting date to reporters. The White House previously had said Obama intended to meet with the Tibetan spiritual leader despite opposition by China.

Last week, China warned that ties between two of the world's superpowers would be strained if Obama met with the Dalai Lama.

"It will seriously undermine the foundation of Sino-U.S. political relations," said Zhu Weiqun, a Communist Party official who is in charge of talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama. "We will take corresponding action to make relevant countries see their mistakes."

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of advocating for Tibetan independence from China.

Tibet is technically autonomous from the central Chinese government, but the Dalai Lama and others have said they favor genuine autonomy and resent the slow erosion of their culture amid an influx of Han Chinese, the most numerous ethnic group in China.

Zhu said there would be no compromise on China's control of Tibet.

The Dalai Lama fled China in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He lives in exile in the north Indian hill town of Dharamsala.


Filed under: China • Dalai Lama • President Obama
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Rob Johnson

    Good for Obama for not being bullied by the Chinese.

    If conservatives really believe in freedom and liberty, they should congratulate Obama for this. The Tibetans are one of the most oppressed peoples on Earth, and it takes guts to risk China's wrath.

    Some things are more important than business, and even though I don't mind us doing business with China, I don't think we should have to ignore a major world leader just because his very existence makes our biggest "customer" look bad.

    Let the chips fall where they may. China needs our money more than we need their shoddy merchandise. Worst case scenario, we might have to learn how to make things in America again.

    February 11, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Mostly political courtesy, to someone who has no real position, in the scheme of the world.

    February 11, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. Bob in Pa

    May BO finally find inner peace!

    February 11, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. Tram

    Hey, China, relations between your country and the US will be strained if you keep exporting dangerous goods like lead-covered toys and food filled with things that can harm people.

    February 11, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. Patrick

    I'm not a big fan of Obama but I applaud him for doing what's right against pressure. I wish he would do this more.

    February 11, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. Ken

    Gee did he get permission from China first. What a coward.

    February 11, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Elizabeth

    Why are we even acknowledging threats or comments from a Communist country? We need to turn the tables on the Chinese government, it was a mistake to get involved with them in the first place. Start protecting our own interests in this country.
    Stop buying inferior Chinese goods, start manufacturing and producing our own goods again. Put our own steel workers back to work. It is horrifying to hear that we are importing goods that were once manufactured in this country. That even produce is coming from China. What is up with that? Put our farmers back to work providing food for Americans. And now they are telling us who we can talk to . Whats next? Maybe they would like to censor out web as well as their own? Americans need to start insisting that the goods they buy and the foods they eat have a "Made in the USA ". The welfare of this country and its citizens needs to come first. To hell with the Chinese.

    February 11, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. GuyInVA

    The president is right to meet with the Dalai Lama. The United States cannot bow to pressure from China or any other nation. Anyway, how much more could we possibly undermine the "foundation of Sino-U.S. political relations"?

    February 11, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  9. Can't Wait Til November

    Wow! The Dalai Lama meets the Obama Lama!

    February 11, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. Albert R., L.A., CA

    " China warned that ties between two of the world's superpowers would be strained if Obama met with the Dalai Lama."

    China really has a problem with freedom of speech. Maybe because free speech is the foundation of freedom of thought. Thus Obama meeting with the Dalai Lama is expressing a thought to China.

    February 11, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Scott, Tucson

    You go obama! stand up against your socialist Masters.

    February 11, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. Moderate

    Ah Yes, threats from our communist friends. They really can't do a single thing about it. Their economy is tied to us! They own so much of our money they would loose it all and they can't harm our interest sense they are now their interest.

    I just think it's funny that our president is expected to do what the communist tell him, yet feel no remorus when sending dangerous toys and products to the US

    February 11, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. rita

    The world has bent over backwards for Communist China for far too many years. There is no rule of law for the government of China, only for its citizens. There are relatively few checks and balances in a communist system of government. The official line from China on the hacking of Google is that it is a business matter, not a government matter. That is because the government is probably guilty of hacking. And who would ever find out for sure when the government is as opaque as wet Chinese drywall. The Chinese forget that we are a democracy and that we can talk to anyone we want to talk to. We are not the citizens of China. We will not conform easily to propoganda (sack of lies). The false pride at any cost and guarded sovereignty of China is achingly close to that of Iran.

    February 11, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. D.D.

    Our President will become even more calm. Roland Martin, the gansta 'ain't 'coming. You gonna have to change his music on his iPod. He is in a pit of racist snakes and trying to hold on to Ghandi and Matin Luther King's teachings. Oh I said it – didn't I?
    There are those who are jeaslous of a young Black Senator to change his direction and move in the Presidential sphere. How dare he? After all it is my term!!! So what do we do now that the public voted? Prohibit him from doing anything on BOTH sides and blame the other side. Face it it was many in Washington feels he was just too yong so they are acting like Wally's son fron Father Knows Best. They are BEING real VIPERS- spitting venom everywhere

    February 11, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Libertarian

    And we care about making a COMMUNIST country happy why??? Oh wait, because Palin made the first stop of her book tour there. LOL So after 8 years of watching GWB suck up to a COMMUNIST country and then Palin.....we call Obama a communist-lover why???

    Ohh...another Kodak moment HAD to be watching Bush kiss the King of Saudi Arabia (three times) on the lips then proceed to hold hands for 45 minutes as they walked around the White House Rose Garden.

    February 11, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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