No White House Greeting for the Dalai Lama’s Visit to DC

By Michelle Boorstein When the Dalai Lama visits Washington next week, it will be the first time since 1991 that … Continued

By Michelle Boorstein

When the Dalai Lama visits Washington next week, it will be the first time since 1991 that he hasn’t been greeted by the sitting American president. Needless to say, his advocates are trying to put a positive face on this.

The Tibetan Buddhist leader, who has been in the country since Sept. 23, will be in D.C. from Monday through Saturday, visiting with members of Congress, giving a large “teaching” at American University (the subject: the power of the human mind) and meeting with Chinese people who have spoken out in defense of democracy in Tibet.

But he won’t be meeting President Obama, who opted to wait until after a U.S.-China summit next month. The highest level American official he’ll see this trip is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which is a stark contrast to his visit two years ago, when he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal – Congress’ highest civilian honor – and met with President Bush at the Capitol, thrilling thousands of Buddhists and non-Buddhists who celebrated on the lawn outside.

It’s not clear what the Obama snub means to Tibetans’ hopes that the United States will help ease one of the most intense Chinese security crackdowns. Obama did send his senior adviser and close friend Valerie Jarrett earlier this month to Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama’s base-in-exile in India. That was the highest-level White House delegation ever to go there.

I asked Kate Saunders, a spokeswoman for the International Campaign for Tibet, if her people felt discouraged by next month’s public slight. She tried to shift the focus to American supporters – of the Dalai Lama, and of Obama.

“It’s disappointing,” she said. “Many of those Americans feel this sends a message of diminished U.S. support.” She said it raises hopes for people like her that the White House will push the Tibet issue during talks with China next month.

The Dalai Lama’s first real public appearance will be Tuesday morning at the Capitol Visitors’ Center, where he is getting an award.

We’ll be covering parts of the trip, as will our China expert and colleague John Pomfret.

  • thomascanada

    Why host or entertain the idea that Obama should not drop the Lama. Dalia Lama that is, the lineage holder for consecutive lamas that overseered a theocratic nightmare enslaving millions of Tibetans has no more than chattel or ‘Speaking Tools’spent their brief 34 years on earth as Serfs or Indentured Servants. This is the same man that was busy idolizing the Nazis while Americans were watching Buck Rogers movies. It is foolish for the West to acknowledge this former dicator as anything other than a former owner of Serfs until the Chinese threw him out. Check out the actual history instead of 95% of the suffering amongst the people not these Tibetan refugee aristocrats that lorded it over these poor people.

  • thomascanada

    OBAMA! PLEASE DROP THIS LAMA!Giovanni, Do you even know the Dalia Lama?

  • Navin1

    It is remarkable how we draw conclusions without comparisons. I have heard the Dalai Lama talk about the feudal structure of older tibet and how that was a bad thing. I have heard him talk about global harmony and political cooperation between nations to solve global warming. That all in one lecture. (I have also read things he has written.)Thomascanada – who are you comparing him to? The chinese government has killed millions of chinese citizens for its ideology of Maoism, cultural revolution, etc. It drives tanks down on its own children in Tianemen square. Anyone who opposes such a callous disregard for human freedom is doing a good thing. China has been expansionist since the beginning. It was stopped by the European powers through the opium wars etc, but it was still expansionist. It is now trying to do the same thing through the very free trade mechanisms that the government (and the people that consent to it) disavows. It seems that you see a devil in a man. I try not to see devils in men. That kind of thinking is only meaningful for a mono-ideologist – the christo-islami-communist thinkers.All true wisdom traditions, including Buddhism, say all men suffer – even the gods suffer. To expect a man to be perfect shows a foolishness in thinking. Likewise to expect a man to be as you have described is too extreme.We must learn to hate ideas, not humans. what ideas of his do you hate? I suspect that he will agree with much of what you say – global warming, progression of democracy, education, ending feudal systems… When you stop hating the man, you can listen with discrimination to his ideas. Then you can choose those ideas you agree with, and those you disagree with.As to Obama. He is a fool here. I like the man’s ideas, in general. But to play this game with china, like a cooperative game with the taliban, fails to understand the history. China has no interest in world cooperation. It too has an interest in weakened neighbors and enemies – this is natural to any state. It takes an ideology of global diversity as a good to make the world better. Communist China, like the islamic world, does not believe in diversity. It is only dangerous to appease the intolerant.hariaum

  • thomascanada

    I will simply refer you sites that have documented this lamas violation of other religious rights. Which will be heard before the Shimla High Courts in India as to the merit of this unprecedented lawsuit against the Lama and his assistant,Samdung Rinpoche.

  • giovanni2

    thomascanada: It’s obvious you are reading out of the communist/capitalist/dictatorship chinese government playbook.

  • thomascanada

    Since this Hollywood Monk has been talking almost 100% politics and has broken all his vows as a monk, (the biggest one is that he spread liars in the western world about China and the dark ages of Tibet before 1949), he is not even qualified to be a monk any more.Dorje Shugden practitioners should educate all monks in India about the Dalai Lama has never been the head of the Gelugpa school, nor any of other Tibetan Buddhist schools.If anyone of us Dorje Shugden practitioners wants to go and dig into history of Gelugpa school, we can always go to China and visit appropriate Gelugpa monasteries (especially Gelugpa monasteries in Lhasa and in Beijing) and see the document prove that the Dalai Lama has never been the head of Gelugpa school at anytime in history. All four major Tibetan Buddhism schools have their own head through out history but none was headed by Dalai Lama. These Hollywood Monk supporters have been trying to put him be the head of all four major schools by destroying them and set up a new one under him; so many Tibetans, especially young generations, in India do not know the facts and force to join the Hollywood Monk camp by education and rumor.Many Tibetans in India do not even know the word Chinese, Chinese is the political name and not a racial name, Han is the major ethnic racial group but the Dalai Lama supporters educate people that Han and Chinese are the same thing. They are not the same, one is a racial name, and other one is a political name. Chinese is a political name for all citizens of China. Because this Hollywood Monk is trying to stop people from practicing Dorje Shugden, he is making many young Tibetans look into the facts about Tibetan Buddhism especially Gelugpa tradition. Now we know that he is a big liar and power thirst monster.Long live Dorje Shugden practitioners without politics.

  • fairfaxvoter

    Wow, sad to see the Chinese government is having people comment here against the Dalai Lama, who is of course a universally respected and praised world leader. There’s not a doubt in my mind that this is what is going on. These comments are as fake as the “special sections” full of articles praising China that are still sometimes bought (as advertisements) and inserted in newspapers.

  • thomascanada

    Why The Dalai Lama No Longer Matters!We’ve come a long way in such a short time. It’s true after all that the darker moment of night is just before dawn. When I think of the nightmare of the persecution unleashed only a couple of winters ago, the fear those poor monks had to go through, the fear in the lay communities of those unfortunate Tibetans, the false Schism in the Sangha forcibly fabricated by the political power of the TGIE … what a dark, dark moment! And now look, such glorious morning.

  • thomascanada

    Hey Fairfax, Stop stupping the Lama and let him spin his mala in his cell.

  • thomascanada

    Obama

  • thomascanada

    “Wow, sad to see the Chinese government is having people comment here against the Dalai Lama, who is of course a universally respected and praised world leader”.[lol]

  • thomascanada

    “As to Obama. He is a fool here. I like the man’s ideas, in general. But to play this game with china, like a cooperative game with the taliban, fails to understand the history. China has no interest in world cooperation. It too has an interest in weakened neighbors and enemies – this is natural to any state. It takes an ideology of global diversity as a good to make the world better. Communist China, like the islamic world, does not believe in diversity. It is only dangerous to appease the intolerant.”liar!You, yourself are intolerant! In case you have not noticed that China is leading the USA in the dust with unprecedented international cooperation amongst actual Nations. Your medieavalist mentality merits that you have an nickinpoop for a master. The actual affairs are hardly the interest for a supposed monk.Get this lunatic out of the affairs of Nations and put him in a cell to spin his mala instead of lies that he uses to support his failed legacy as a leader of the Free world or any world for that matter.

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