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Dalai Lama condoles passing away of Senator who helped to institutionalize US support for Tibet

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(, Sep30’23) – Recalling his first meeting with her, in Dharamshala in 1978, and her many initiatives since then which led to the institutionalization of US support for his Chinese occupied homeland, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has on Sep 30 morning expressed heartfelt condolences on the passing away of Senator Dianne Feinstein. Sikyong Penpa Tsering of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has also extended his condolences, recalling her historic invitation for the Dalai Lama’s first ever visit to the United States as the Mayor of San Francisco in 1979.

Dianne Feinstein, a trailblazer in US politics and the longest-serving woman in the Senate, died on Sep 29, at 90 years of age. She was a vocal gun control advocate who often sought common ground with Republicans, sometimes frustrating her more liberal Democratic Party colleagues, noted the Sep 29.

“Senator Feinstein never backed away from a fight for what was just and right. At the same time, she was always willing to work with anyone, even those she disagreed with, if it meant bettering the lives of Californians or the betterment of our nation,” her chief of staff, James Sauls, has said in a statement.

“There are few women who can be called senator, chairman, mayor, wife, mom and grandmother. Senator Feinstein was a force of nature who made an incredible impact on our country and her home state.”

Feinstein’s office did not share a cause of death, but she had been experiencing rapidly declining health in recent months. She was a Senator since 1992 and recently decided not to seek re-election in 2024.

“She lived a full and meaningful life in the service of the American public,” the Dalai Lama has written in his condolence message for her family sent to Sauls, “both in her native state of California and subsequently in her national role as a Senator.”

“We first met in 1978 when Richard Blum, her husband, brought her to Dharamsala,” the Dalai Lama has recalled. “Since then, I have received her full support, from my first visit to the US in 1979 to the many initiatives she was involved in leading to the institutionalisation of United States support for Tibet.

“Her friendship with the then Chinese leader Jiang Zemin was helpful in that it gave us an opportunity to convey our messages of sincerity to the highest level of Chinese leadership.”

Joining the pouring of tributes from political leaders and lawmakers around the world, Sikyong Penpa Tsering of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) wrote to Katherine Feinstein, the late Senator’s daughter, conveying his condolences, said the CTA on its website Sep 30.

He has written: “In Sep 1979, as the Mayor of San Francisco, Senator Feinstein extended the inaugural invitation to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, graciously welcoming him to San Francisco and extending upon him the key to the City. This historic invitation marked the first-ever visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the United States, a pivotal moment that fostered understanding and friendship between the people of Tibet and the United States”.


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