By Charlie Campbell / Beijing
June 28, 2016

Lady Gaga has joined the ranks of Western celebrities who have enraged Chinese fans by meeting with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

The pop icon and a group of U.S. mayors met the Dalai Lama in Indianapolis over the weekend. She hosted a Q&A session, with questions submitted online, and uploaded photographic evidence to her Instagram page.

“I’m unfollowing Lady Gaga right now,” posted one user of China’s Twitter-like microblog Weibo. “National interest is above all idols.”

“I’m really disappointed,” posted another. “I loved Lady Gaga, for her outspoken character and achievements. But now I realize she doesn’t care about Chinese fans’ feeling at all. All these years’ love for her is in vain.”

The Dalai Lama is considered a dangerous separatist by China’s ruling Communist Party, which frequently unleashes invectives against him in state-run media. He insists he simply advocates for greater autonomy for the mountainous province, which has been ruled from Beijing since 1950.

The Chinese government frequently puts pressure on governments not to entertain the Dalai Lama, even rebuking U.S. President Barack Obama for meeting him earlier this month. Celebrities including Sharon Stone, Naomi Watts and Jim Carrey have previously provoked Chinese ire by meeting with the 80-year-old, who lives in exile in the Indian Himalayan town of Dharamsala.

However, a significant minority of Chinese Lady Gaga fans posted messages of support or indifference.

“How can a bunch of pirated-music lovers threaten Lady Gaga with losing Chinese market?” ask one Weibo user.

“She did what feels right for her,” posted another. “ I don’t understand the anger of her Chinese fans.”

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