China says a meeting between Lady Gaga and the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has unleashed anger in the country, Sky News reports. The American singer posted photos and a video on social media of the meeting on Sunday at the US Conference of Mayors in Indianapolis.
She spoke to the Dalai Lama about topics including generosity to the poor and mental health. The Dalai Lama fled Tibet into exile in India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, and he is seen by the Chinese as a dangerous “splittist”, or separatist.
The Dalai Lama says he only wants genuine autonomy for his homeland. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said: “There is a broad consensus internationally about what kind of person the Dalai Lama is and what he does internationally.
“After the relevant incident happened, if you look at comments on the Chinese Internet, their anger has welled up.” Lady Gaga has never held a concert in mainland China, but she has played concerts in its Hong Kong and Macau territories, and her music is popular with many young Chinese.
“Lady Gaga, you’re never coming back to China,” wrote one user on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblog. Other comments were less polite, using obscene language towards the pop star.
The Ministry of Culture, which regulates the activities of foreign artists in China, has yet to comment, but controversial meetings have previously put artists on blacklists in China.
Unconfirmed reports in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily claimed Chinese websites and media organisations had been ordered to stop uploading or distributing her songs.
In 2008, Icelandic singer Bjork shouted “Tibet! Tibet!” at a Shanghai concert after performing her song “Declare Independence”, which angered the government and some local fans.
And Oasis and Maroon 5 had concerts cancelled after they sent messages of support to the Dalai Lama.