Elisabeth Rosenthal reports in the New York Times:
As the Dalai Lama toured European capitals this week, the British prime minister closed the door to 10 Downing Street and agreed to meet him only as part of an “interfaith dialogue.” In Germany, most government officials declined to talk with him at all.
It was a precipitous comedown from just a few weeks ago, when Tibetans and their supporters unexpectedly upstaged Beijing’s elaborate global torch relay and catapulted Tibet’s cause to the forefront of the world’s human rights agenda. The German and British leaders let it be known then that they would skip the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
The shift is, partly, tectonic. An earthquake in China’s Sichuan Province killed tens of thousands of Chinese, evoking an outpouring of global sympathy for China and turning it overnight from victimizer to victim.