According to the BBC, a visit by the Dalai Lama to Washington has “seriously undermined” relations between the US and China, Beijing says. China had earlier expressed “strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition” to the meeting with a man they see as a separatist. Washington had kept the Dalai Lama’s meeting low-key to emphasis it was private rather than political. China never reacts well to these meetings, which have been taking place for nearly two decades. The meetings highlight Beijing’s questionable human rights record and remind the world that many Tibetans are deeply unhappy with China’s heavy-handed rule in Tibet. The White House meeting was held amid recent tensions, mainly over a US arms sale to Taiwan and allegations of Chinese cyber-spying. The Dalai Lama has met every sitting US president since 1991, with each visit drawing Chinese ire. But George W. Bush’s meeting with the Dalai Lama in 2007 was the first time a sitting US president had appeared with the exiled Tibetan leader.

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