I read this morning that President Obama has avoided meeting the Dalai Lama. I can't help thinking that he has done the correct thing here. Like many Westerns I have for a long time tacitly supported the notion that China invaded and is a hostile occupying power in Tibet.
However this may have been very much a case of I don't like Communism as a form of government and therefore the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The thing to ask is what the office of the Dalai Lama actually represented. The answer is that the office represents a brutal feudal theocracy.
As this article details up until the communist takeover Tibet was a feudal society which still practiced serfdom and mutilation as criminal punishment. Now the Chinese propaganda machine clearly has an agenda in perpetuating this view of history. I have no doubt that the do everything they can to exaggerate it. However I'm also certain that this position does have a factual base and should not be swept under the rug for convince. After all the west has an established history in supporting Dictatorships as a means of slowing the spread of communism.
Now here lies an interesting conundrum. If you accept the official of Tibetan Buddhism then the current Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of his predecessors, which would make him directly responsible for all of the actions of the regime through the ages. If this is true then no matter how benign and peaceful an individual he appears to be he does not deserve any support form modern democracies.
I just found this related story. Personally The position of the independce spokesperson sounds rather stupid to me. It was only the ruling class in Tibet, which was not elected, that lost its ability to determine Tibet's future. I doubt that without an extrnal push the regime would have changed significantly.