(TibetanReview.net, Nov15, 2015) – US House Democratic and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has painted a rather different picture from that by the official Chinese media on her just concluded visit to Tibet as a part of her tour of China with a congressional delegation of seven House democrats. While the official Chinese media indicated that Pelosi had nothing but praise for China’s rule and policies in Tibet, her official statement Nov 14 at the end of the tour said she also raised concerns over a range of serious issues while meeting with top Chinese leaders in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), which is roughly the western half of ethnographic Tibet, as well as in Beijing.
In her statement Ms Pelosi has spoken of having engaged in candid talks with the Party Secretary of the TAR, Mr Chen Quanguo; Vice Party Secretary of TAR, Baima Chilin; and Party Secretary of Lhasa, Qi Zhala “regarding the importance of respecting Tibet’s autonomy, its ecology, and the human rights and religious freedom of its diverse people”.
After leading the first US congressional delegation to Tibet since almost the entire Tibetan Plateau was hit by upheaval in 2008, Pelosi has said she had also “expressed concerns regarding freedom of religion and expression for the Tibetan people; the preservation of Tibet’s unique cultural, religious and linguistic heritage; and diplomatic and public access to Tibet”.
Concerned by China’s relentless denigration of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, with totally baseless and often libelous allegations, the US delegation has also “conveyed to the Chinese government officials the strong, bipartisan support the Dalai Lama enjoys in the Congress of the United States and among the American people”.
On the other hand, China’s official http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn had reported Nov 13, citing the regional party mouthpiece Tibet Daily, that Pelosi had described her delegation’s visits to temples, schools, communities and local residents’ homes and the deep interactions as greatly helping their understanding of Tibet in a comprehensive way. And it added, “Pelosi spoke highly of the great transformation in the new Tibet and the efforts by the Chinese government in guaranteeing freedom of religion, protecting ethnic tradition and culture and ecological environment.”
The report also cited Tibet Daily to quote Pelosi as having said to Chen, “Thanks to the efforts by the Chinese government, the living standards of Chinese people, including Tibetan people, have improved significantly. People all over the world have recognized this, and you have every reason to feel proud of this.”
Pelosi, on the other hand, has said she continued to raise her concerns about Tibet in her meetings with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang; National People’s Congress Chairman, Zhang Dejiang; and National People’s Congress Vice Chairman Zhang Ping in Beijing. Her statement said, referring to those meetings: “The delegation reiterated the imperative of respect for religious freedom and expression in Tibet; autonomy and democracy in Hong Kong; and respect for human and women’s rights across China. The delegation also expressed specific concerns related to the recent arrest and detention of human rights lawyers and activists.”
Pelosi issued the delegation’s statement from an air base in Alaska on her way home from the visit.