Lady Gaga sat down with the Dalai Lama on Sunday to discuss love, compassion and the ills of the world. The 20-minute meeting, which took place after the Tibetan spiritual leader's appearance at the 84th annual Conference of Mayors in Indianapolis, was live-streamed on Facebook and liked some 160,000 times.
Once photos of the occasion made their way to Mainland China, however, the response was far less enthusiastic.
Beijing regards the spiritual leader as a dangerous political figure bent on breaking the Himalayan region of Tibet from the rest of China. The Dalai Lama insists he advocates a "middle way," involving greater political autonomy for Tibet but not full independence.
Gaga has a huge fanbase in China, but many fans are already speculating that she could be banned from future performances in the country due to the Dalai Lama meeting.
"We hope that people from the international community can be fully aware of his true colors and nature," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Monday, adding: "The purpose of his visits and activities in other countries is just to promote his proposal for Tibetan independence."
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Lady Gaga's different looks through the years
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Lady Gaga performs onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: Contemporary Icon Award Recipient Lady Gaga performs onstage at the Songwriters Hall Of Fame 46th Annual Induction And Awards at Marriott Marquis Hotel on June 18, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame)
Lady Gaga and Alexander Wang arrives at the 2015 Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala benefit in honor of the museums latest exhibit China: Through the Looking Glass May 4, 2015 in New York. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Recording artist Lady Gaga attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 08: Siger Lady Gaga visits the NBA Global Games Tour 2014 match between Alba Berlin and San Antonio Spurs at O2 World on October 8, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - SEPTEMBER 22: Artists Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga attend a press conference about the album 'cheek to cheek' at City Hall on September 22, 2014 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Renders/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 07: Lady Gaga walks the red carpet during the 27th Annual Kennedy Center Honors at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on December 7, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 05: Lady Gaga attends Samsung GALAXY At Harper's BAZAAR Celebrates Icons By Carine Roitfeld at The Plaza Hotel on September 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Samsung)
US music star Lady Gaga waves upon her arrival at the Narita International airport in Narita, Chiba prefecture on August 12, 2014. Gaga is set to play two nights at the Chiba Marine Stadium in Tokyo on August 13 and 14 before heading to Seoul to perform at the Olympic Stadium on August 16. AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA (Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: Lady Gaga arrives at Roseland Ballroom on March 28, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
Lady Gaga arrives at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO/ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ (Photo credit should read ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 24: Singer Lady Gaga attends The 2014 MusiCares Person Of The Year Gala Honoring Carole King at Los Angeles Convention Center on January 24, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 08: Lady GaGa attends on day 2 of the Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball at 02 Arena on December 8, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
US pop music star Lady Gaga poses for photographers upon her arrival at Narita Airport, outside Tokyo on November 26, 2013. Lady Gaga is in Japan to promote her latest album 'ARTPOP'. AFP PHOTO/Toru YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Singer Lady Gaga performs onstage during the 2013 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 24, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Singer Lady Gaga attends the 2013 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 24, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Lady Gaga attends artRave on November 10, 2013 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Benjamin Rollins Caldwell)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06: Lady Gaga speaks at The Daily Front Row's Fashion Media Awards at Harlow on September 6, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for The Daily Front Row)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 19: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE. SPECIAL RATES APPLY.) Lady Gaga talks with 'The Morning Mash Up' Live on SiriusXM Hits 1 at SiriusXM Studio on August 19, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Singer Lady Gaga arrives at Macy's Herald Square in New York on September 14, 2012 to launch her first fragrance, Lady Gaga Fame, released through the singer's own Haus Laboratories in association with Coty. (Photo credit TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
During the streamed discussion, Gaga asked the spiritual leader how to help young people with low self-esteem, or even those who might be contemplating suicide. "Paying more attention to inner values like love and compassion are the right approach," he said, adding that he felt the world had become too materialistic.
The Gaga-Lama summit inspired a wave of outrage, lament and soul-searching on Chinese social media. The Dalai Lama's name in Chinese is often blocked on social media service Weibo, but it appears that authorities have been giving users some space to express their pro-Beijing umbrage towards the U.S. pop star.
"She did not consider her Chinese fans!" wrote user GeorgeLee in one of the most widely shared posts. "Let's boycott Coach and all the other brands that she advertises," said He Shi You Lateen.
"The first song in English that I heard was from her and she was my favorite singer, my goddess," user LatteRaven posted. "But now it's like this, so forget her — goodbye, Gaga."
Others were a bit more defiant: "The gangster Chinese government doesn't allow us to see foreign social media networks anyways, so she can show whatever she wants," said Feilai De Zhu, referencing China's blocking of Facebook and Twitter.
Several Western musicians have had their concerts canceled in China because of past associations with the Dalai Lama. In April, pop singer Selena Gomez canceled her summer tour dates in Guangzhou and Shanghai, and many speculated that she was forced to pull out because of photos she had shared on social media with the Dalai Lama. Last year, Bon Jovi and Maroon 5 pulled out of concerts in China amid similar allegations.