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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

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

October 5, 2009

By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post - October 1, 2009

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

"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.
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