Beijing furious as Obama receives the Dalai Lama
The American leader confirmes his meeting with the head of Tibetan Buddhism, but "in private". Beijing reacts with the usual formula: "a gross interference in China’s domestic politics." The Dalai Lama compliments Xi Jinping for fight against corruption, but urges him to "give justice" to over 1 billion Chinese.

Washington (AsiaNews / Agencies ) - Despite China's strenuous protests, U.S. President Barack Obama will receive the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader today at the White House. Beijing has asked the U.S. government to cancel the meeting, described as "a gross interference in China's domestic politics," but it seems it will go ahead. The two Nobel Peace Laureates last met in 2011.

China defines the leader of Tibetan Buddhism "as a wolf dressed as a monk, who works for the Tibet's independence from China". For his part, the Dalai Lama clarified several years ago that his community does not want to break away from the rest of the country, but calls for cultural autonomy and religious freedom. The United States, according to some officials, "does not support the region's independence but are concerned about the human rights situation in China". In any case, as for all other meetings during his presidency, Obama will receive the Dalai Lama "in private".

The issue of human rights in China and Tibet, however, seems destined to remain unchanged. Over the past three years, more than 110 people - laity, Buddhist monks and nuns - have set themselves on fire in the Himalayan region to ask for religious freedom , the end of the Chinese repression and the return home of the Dalai Lama. Beijing has responded by intensifying controls and isolating monasteries where, according to authorities, the protest started.

The Buddhist leader has repeatedly called for the faithful to "safeguard life above all else" but Beijing accuses him of "secretly fomenting" the Buddhist suicides. In a recent interview with Time , he said: "This is a very sad and very, very sensitive. Human life is very precious and this is a very sensitive political issue. Whatever I say is exploited by Chinese fundamentalists, so I prefer to remain silent".

In the same interview, the Dalai Lama has expressed an opinion on the new Chinese leader Xi Jinping : " He's fighting corruption with courage and efficiency, without fear. But the real improvements need to spread to the rural areas. The solution is not to build new large cities. And it must be said that 1.3 billion Chinese people have the right to know the reality. Censorship is a unreal method that generates distrust and suspicion. The Chinese judicial system needs to be brought to international standards, so that one billion poor people can have some form of protection".