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China’s Tibetan delegation to US deaf to calls for better deal for Tibet

A National People's Congress (NPC) delegation of legislators from China's Tibet Autonomous Region, led by Baima Wangdui (2nd R), deputy of the People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region and member of the Tibetan regional party standing committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), receive interviews by the media in Washington, the United States, on May 11, 2018. (Photo courtesy: Xinhua/Yang Chenglin)
A National People’s Congress (NPC) delegation of legislators from China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, led by Baima Wangdui (2nd R), deputy of the People’s Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region and member of the Tibetan regional party standing committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), receive interviews by the media in Washington, the United States, on May 11, 2018. (Photo courtesy: Xinhua/Yang Chenglin)

(TibetanReview.net, May18, 2018) – A group of Chinese parliament members from Tibet Autonomous Region has received critical appraisal from some US lawmakers but positive indication on aspect of the visit from the Congress’s China group following their different meetings. The delegation’s six-day tour, which covered Washington and San Francisco, concluded on May 14.

Pema Wangdu, the delegation leader and Communist Party secretary of Lhasa, told US lawmakers and other officials that the Tibet issue was “extremely sensitive” to Beijing, and that he hoped the US would not permit any more visits by the Dalai Lama or support any activities organised by anti-China separatists, which could sour Sino-US relations, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency May 15.

The delegation’s meetings in Washington were with US Senator Dan Sullivan, Republican of Alaska; and Representatives Darin LaHood, Republican of Illinois; Rick Larsen, Democrat of Washington; and Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts, who have reportedly been critical of how the Chinese government has handled human rights issues in Tibet, reported the scmp.com May 16.

The report cited McGovern as saying the meeting with the Chinese delegation was “cordial” and that he again spoke of his concerns about Beijing’s treatment of the Tibetans.

“I urged them to re-start the dialogue with Tibet, and to permit His Holiness the Dalai Lama to return home, if he so desires,” the report quoted him as saying.

However, McGovern has continued, “I was disappointed that there didn’t seem to be any flexibility on the government’s side, on these or related issues.

“China is a great country that has taken important steps to reduce poverty. But in the end, people must be allowed to live according to their identity and beliefs. Unfortunately, nothing I heard indicated progress on that key point.”

The report also quoted Larsen and LaHood, co-chairmen of the House of Representatives’ bipartisan US-China Working Group, as saying in a statement: “We appreciated hearing from … Baima Wangdui and the entire delegation on the future of Tibet, the improvement of people’s lives through clean energy development and positive changes to living conditions in the region. We look forward to continuing this dialogue on the social and economic development of Tibet.”

Since 2009, China has regularly sent a Tibetan delegation to the US and a number of other Western countries to reiterate its antipathy towards any sort of support for the Tibetan people and its exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, while flatly denying all allegations of human rights abuses and threats to Tibetan cultural identity. It has also rejected all calls for dialogue with the Tibetans, claiming there was no Tibet issue to be discussed.

The delegation has also kept asking their Western counterparts to come and see the situation in Tibet for themselves while afterwards denying them visa almost every time.

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