President Barack Obama made an surprising concession, long sought by the Chinese government, in his recent visit to China. While largely ignored by most reporters covering the speech, Obama stated the following: “We did note that while we recognize that Tibet is part of the People’s Republic of China, the United States supports the early resumption of dialogue between the Chinese government and representatives of the Dalai Lama to resolve any concerns and differences that the two sides may have.”
That would appear to reject the view of the and human rights activists that China invaded and occupied Tibet against its will. While the State Department has made such statements in the past, Presidents have been careful not to publicly ratify the Chinese occupation. Bush was not exactly a champion of Tibetan rights, but many (particularly in Hollywood) wanted Obama to push for a Free Tibet (or at least not reaffirm its absorption into China).
Advocates for Free Tibet have long complained that Obama was sacrificing their cause for better relations with China, which holds a huge amount of U.S. debt. This includes the decision of the White House not to have the President meet personally with the Dalai Lama recently, here.
Tibet, after all, became part of China after an invasion in 1950.
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