Freedom House: Postponing Dalai Lama Meeting Sends Wrong Message

The Dalai LamaU.S. President Barack Obama’s apparent decision to postpone a meeting with the Dalai Lama sends the wrong signal to the Chinese government at a time when the authorities in Beijing are intensifying efforts to silence peaceful critics at home and abroad, a US human rights organization, Freedom House, said in a statement released October 5. Obama reportedly delayed meeting the Tibetan spiritual leader this week to win favor from China’s leaders ahead of his first visit to Beijing as president next month. It will be the first time since 1991 that the Dalai Lama has not met with the U.S. president while visiting Washington.

“The doors of the White House should always be open to a globally-revered advocate for peaceful efforts to secure fundamental human rights,” said Jennifer Windsor, Freedom House executive director. “It is hard to see how shunning the Dalai Lama will advance American interests. The Obama administration is presenting an unfortunate profile by putting human rights so conspicuously on the backburner in its relations with repressive regimes.”

Freedom House noted that already this year, the administration has given only muted support to pro-democracy activists in Iran and has withdrawn funding from independent, pro-democracy activists in Egypt. On China, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said earlier this year that human rights would not “interfere” with the U.S. dialogue with China on other global concerns. READ MORE

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