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Lady Gaga Shook Hands With The Dalai Lama And Her Instagram Blew Up

Gaga's Chinese fans were not very happy at all with the short meeting. At all.

Posted on June 27, 2016, at 4:45 p.m. ET

Lady Gaga posted several photos of her meeting with the Dalai Lama Sunday on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

You might have liked the pics, but apparently THEY PISSED OFF A LOT OF CHINESE PEOPLE.

The photos on Instagram have since garnered over tens of thousands of comments, mostly negative. They really, really REALLY didn't like her meeting him, even her fans.

Others posted Chinese flag emojis as a minor way of protest.

Some people reading this might be confused as to how anyone could hate the Dalai Lama.

Takashi Aoyama / Getty Images

The thing about the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile is that he has a completely skewed image in mainland China. In the Chinese government's telling, the 80-year-old is the main agitator behind the separatist movement in Tibet.

Beijing maintains that China has had complete sovereignty over Tibet since the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912), but Tibetans and independent historians say that what Tibetan government and Qing government had was a mutually respected relationship, which ended with the fall of the Qing Dynasty.

While Tibetans have reportedly been rejected passports to travel freely in and out of Tibet, Han Chinese — the country's ethnic majority — have the freedom to travel to most of the destinations in Tibet, and some of them therefore consider themselves more of an expert than the locals.


This person, for example, wrote that the "external" internet (in contrast to the Chinese internet, where Instagram is one of dozens — if not hundreds — of blocked sites) needed to be educated about the serfdom and violation in Tibet before its "liberation" by China.

Lady Gaga has also become the most-searched Western celebrity on Weibo since she posted the photos. People reposted them on the social platform to inform those who don't use tools to get around the Great Firewall of China, and many predict that her future performances will be censored in China:


"Say goodbye to Chinese market, see you never again," a user who goes by Mr. Cherry commented. Maroon 5, for example, had a concert canceled in China after tweeting about the Dalai Lama last year.

And the nationalists soon developed a new slogan: "Country over idol."


An entertainment news website with a little more than 5,000 followers on Weibo announced that it had "deleted all songs of Lady Gaga" and would cease to publish future coverage on her.


Things soon got even uglier when Chinese people from Taiwan and Hong Kong joined the fray.

In recent years, demand for democracy has grown louder and louder in Hong Kong, while Taiwanese Chinese have become more and more reluctant to call themselves "Chinese."

The harshest commenters said it was best for the Communist Party to prevent the mainland's population inside the Great Firewall from ruining the global internet community.

To fight back, instead of calling them "Taiwanese," mainland users addressed them as "Wanwan," a derogative term.

One user wrote, "Dalai will peel off human skins and make bongos with them. Wanwan people, you like to suck it up so much, aren't you afraid of being made into a bongo?"

As one of the few users who asked others to stop the argument wrote, "It's just different political positions, to insult each other only bring out meaningless hatred. :("

It must have been a tough day for Lady Gaga's fan club of over 30,000 on Weibo; the official account said that "[she] didn't mention one word about 'Tibetan independence' throughout, the ones who are innocent know about themselves."

If you'd like to watch for yourself, Lady Gaga live-streamed the entirety of her meeting with the Dalai Lama at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Indianapolis.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.