President Barack Obama complicated U.S./China relations by hosting the Dalai Lama at the White House yesterday. The meeting was not a state visit and the fact that it took place in the Map Room rather than the Oval Office means that the conversation was more symbolic than official. However, the White House drew strong criticism from China just for hosting the Dalai Lama. David Banks, a doctoral researcher in ?ritual and symbolic diplomacy," explains the symbolism behind the meeting and how it translates throughout the international community.

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