Kathmandu: As China on Friday expressed anger at the meeting between US President Barack Obama and exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, Hollywood icon Richard Gere`s organisation devoted to the Tibet cause hailed the meet, saying it showed Tibet remained "a serious issue of global importance".
The Chinese government summoned the US envoy to China and branded the Obama-Dalai Lama meeting as "grossly interfering".
"The US has a long and active record on Tibet with well-established polices and programmes," said Mary Beth Markey, vice president for international advocacy at the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT).
"Thus, when the White House stated that the President is meeting with the Dalai Lama as a `spokesman` for Tibet rights, it connotes that the agenda will address far more than religious matters, and will cover a range of substantive issues, such as human rights abuses, economic marginalisation and regional stability," Markey said in a press statement.
Lodi Gyari, the Dalai Lama`s special envoy and chief negotiator with the Chinese government, said the meeting held on Thursday was a "clear demonstration of President Obama`s support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama`s efforts to resolve the Tibet issue as well as of his personal respect for him".
The ICT also said that Tibetans in the eastern area of Amdo, where the Dalai Lama was born, set off fireworks at midnight to mark the meeting.
"It was a bold reminder of the determination of Tibetans to express their loyalty to their exiled leader, despite the intense security crackdown in place since protests occurred across the Tibetan plateau from March 2008 and of the hope Tibetans place in American support for their cause," the ICT said.