(TibetanReview.net, May11, 2017) – China has on May 10 expressed bitter anger over the fact that a high profile bipartisan delegation of US lawmakers had visited Dharamshala, India, and met with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. A public felicitation was held for the delegation of eight House of Representatives members which was led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a former Speaker. Thousands of people attended the May 10 event, which was held on the Tsuglakhang courtyard, with the presence of the Dalai Lama.
“The visit by the relevant delegates of the US Congress to meet the Dalai Lama sent a very wrong signal to the world about Tibet independence and goes against the United States’ promises on Tibet,” China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang was quoted as saying, adding, “China firmly opposes this and has lodged solemn representations with the US.”
Geng demanded that the US lawmakers end all contacts with the Dalai Lama and take corrective measures. “We urge relevant Congress people in the US to carefully handle the Tibet issue, stop all communications with the Dalai Lama and take immediate measures to deal with the negative impact of the visit,” he was quoted as saying.
The delegation had called on the Dalai Lama on their arrival on May 9.
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During the public felicitation event, Pelosi told the crowd, “You will not be silenced. The brutal tactics of the Chinese government to erase race, culture and language of Tibetan people challenges the conscience of the world. We will meet that challenge.”
She accused China of using “its economic leverages to silence the voices of friends of Tibet”. She blamed the US government for not doing enough to hold China responsible on human rights violation but instead focusing on trade relationship that has benefitted Beijing, reported ibtimes.co.uk May 10.
“But if we do not speak out against repression in Tibet because of China’s economic power, we lose all moral authority to talk about human rights anywhere else in the world,” the IANS news agency May 10 quoted her as saying.
While President Donald Trump’s administration appeared to shift its focus away from human rights, Pelosi vowed to stand by the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people. “We’re not going away. We can do this slowly. We can do it long,” she told Reuters May 10. “We’ll have our leverage and we’ll be ready when we see the opportunity.”
Besides Pelosi, the delegation included Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner, Eliot Engel, Jim McGovern, Betty McCollum, Judy Chu, Joyce Beatty and Pramila Jayapal.
Sensenbrenner, the lone Republican in the delegation, assured bipartisan US Congress support on Tibet and love and respect for the Dalai Lama.
Vowing never to stop until Tibet is free, Engel said that as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the US Congress, he would make sure to talk about his experience here in India and also look into how helpful they can be to the Tibetan people.
McGovern, Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, urged the Trump administration to meet the Dalai Lama. He pledged to make the return of the 14th Dalai Lama and Tibetan people to Tibet possible.
Jayapal who had moved from India to the USA at 16, said “truth will always win”.
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In his address to the gathering the Dalai Lama expressed sincere hope that “the future of Tibet and China will move beyond mistrust to a relationship based on mutual respect, trust and recognition of common interests”.
Urging his followers to overcome conflicts through dialogue and non-violence, the Tibetan leader said, “Even in my own struggle for the rights and greater freedom of the Tibetan people, these values continue to guide my commitment in pursuing a non-violent path.”
He expressed confidence that the Tibet issue will be resolved through nonviolent means and sense of brotherhood, though it may take time.
He was also quoted as saying: “We must not consider China as our enemy but friend and the dire situation in Tibet is a problem for both Tibet and China, and must be addressed. Use of force only leads to distrust and fear, which eventually leads to discord and without harmony the problem can’t be addressed.”
The Dalai Lama praised the delegation for coming to Dharamshala, and called the United States as the global leader for world peace.
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In his remarks, the executive head of the exile Tibetan administration, Sikyong Lobsang sangay, said: “The US government supports One-China policy and also supports Middle Way Approach. So there is no contradiction between the One-China policy and Middle way policy. We hope that the new administration in Washington DC will continue to support MWA and encourage dialogue between envoys of the Dalai Lama and Chinese representatives very soon.”
Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel said the delegation’s visit will send a strong message to the Chinese that Tibetans are never alone.
Besides India, the delegation visited Nepal, Germany and Belgium, ‘focusing on national security, the global economy, bilateral and multilateral relations, and human rights’.
In Nepal’s capital Kathmandu the delegation had visited Tibetan communities on May 8. Pelosi said the main purpose of her visit was to assess the problems and challenges facing Tibetan refugees in the country, particularly over the denial of refugee and resident certificates to them.