President Bush received the Dalai Lama of Tibet in what the exiled ruler's supporters said was a major breakthrough symbolizing the importance of their crusade against the Chinese government.

Bush's private meeting with the Dalai Lama on Tuesday evening was the first between a U.S. president and a Dalai Lama and was sure to prompt a negative reaction from Beijing, which has tried to thwart the Nobel Peace Prize recipient's U.S. tour.The Dalai Lama, who arrived in the United States on March 24, is visiting several U.S. cities and this week has several appearances in Washington to spotlight the plight of his Chinese-governed Himalayan nation.