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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

How past presidents have welcomed the Dalai Lama

February 19, 2010

AP
February 18, 2010

How past presidents have welcomed the Dalai Lama,
exiled spiritual leader of Tibet's Buddhists, to Washington:

* George H.W. Bush became the first president to
meet with the Dalai Lama in 1991, two years after
the Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing. The
White House allowed no photos of the meeting.

* Bill Clinton, seeking to reduce Chinese anger,
avoided formal visits and instead dropped by the
Dalai Lama's meetings with other officials.
Republicans criticized him for not formally
receiving the Dalai Lama. First lady Hillary
Rodham Clinton, now the secretary of state, also
met with the Dalai Lama in the White House.

* George W. Bush met several times with the Dalai
Lama in private at the White House residence. In
2007, in a hugely symbolic moment, Bush broke
with tradition and appeared in public with the
Dalai Lama, personally presenting the monk with
the Congressional Gold Medal in an elaborate
ceremony. In front of TV cameras and Washington's
most powerful lawmakers, the two men laughed and
warmly greeted each other. Bush urged China to
invite the Dalai Lama for talks; China was enraged.
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