(TibetanReview.net, Jun16, 2016) – In a robust reaction to China’s bald assertion of historical right of ownership of Tibet, the latter’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has on Jun 14 called his homeland an occupied land while saying he was, nevertheless, not seeking independence for it.
Meeting with the US Congressional Leadership, after being escorted to a meeting with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by House Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator Patrick Leahy, the Dalai Lama said, “We consider Tibet to be occupied land, yet we are still not seeking independence. However, at the same time it is a reality that Tibet is not a part of China. Please continue to give us your support. We very much appreciate it.”
He expressed appreciation for the support the US Congress had given on the Tibet issue over the years and said, “Congress has expressed staunch support for our cause. We are not seeking independence because we don’t want to enter into confrontation with our Chinese brothers and sisters. However, Chinese documents reveal that in the 9th century independent Tibetan, Chinese and Mongolian empires flourished. What we seek now is a mutually beneficial solution to the problems between us.”
He concluded by summarizing his three commitments, namely to spread awareness of basic human values as a source of genuine happiness; the promotion of respectful inter-religious harmony; and the protection of the Tibetan people’s identity, as well as the culture, language and environment of Tibet.
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The Dalai Lama was later hosted a bipartisan lunch by Speaker Paul Ryan and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, at which the latter said: “Our bipartisan luncheon with Speaker Ryan is a tribute to the deep respect His Holiness enjoys on both sides of the aisle for the message of peace, compassion and responsibility he brings to the world. Every time His Holiness visits the Capitol, he reminds us that ‘change comes through action,’ and that Congress must do our part to help the Tibetan people in their fight to preserve their language, culture and religion.”
In a brief, succinct remark, the Dalai Lama said: “Both Houses of the American government are a source of hope and inspiration. The Speaker is young and able and I’ve known Nancy Pelosi for many years; our friendship is unchanging. As I have said before, our supporters are not so much pro-Tibet as pro-justice.”
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Later in the Afternoon, the Dalai Lama attended a meeting with members of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), which, founded in 1988, works to promote human rights and democratic freedoms for the people of Tibet. He gave a brief narration of the events and experiences since childhood which had shaped the person he had become, responding to an invitation to do so by ICT’s board chairman Richard Gere.
Gere asked the Dalai Lama a series of questions, one of which was about the prospects for dialogue with Chinese authorities, to which he plied: “The last meeting was in 2010. Since then the Chinese side has made clear they have little interest in dealing with our organization. Some reports say that after the 2008 crisis Hu Jintao was advised never to let the Dalai Lama come back. Since we’ve waited 57 years, we can wait a little longer. The determination of the people of Tibet is undiminished.”