(TibetanReview.net, Jul18’19) – A close relative of a prominent late fatal Tibetan victim of China’s religious persecution was among 27 participants in an Oval Office meeting with US President Donald Trump on Jul 17. The meeting took place ahead of the State Department’s hosting of an annual conference on religious freedom the following day.
Nyima Lhamo, a niece of late Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche who died in Chinese prison under highly questionable circumstances Jul 2015, was one of the four participants from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the White House meeting. He was a prominent Tibetan spiritual figure, environmental activist, philanthropist, and a Dalai Lama supporter serving a life sentence on a false bombing allegation at the time of his death.
The others from the PRC were Jewher Ilham, an Uighur Muslim; Yuhua Zhang, a Falun Gong practitioner; and Manping Ouyang, a Christian. The others were stated to be Christians from Myanmar, Vietnam, North Korea, Iran, Turkey, Cuba, Eritrea, Nigeria, and Sudan; Muslims from Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan and New Zealand; Rohingya from Myanmar; Jews from Yemen and Germany; a practitioner of Cao Dai from Vietnam; and a Yezidi from Iraq.
President Trump has made religious freedom a centerpiece of his foreign policy and counts evangelical Christians among his core supporters, noted Reuters Jul 18 while reporting on the meeting.
Vice President Mike Pence, US Ambassador-at-large for Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were among those who attended the White House meeting.
Nyima Lhamo was stated to have appealed for continued US support for Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
She will be among the Tibetans taking part in the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom which is hosted by the US State Department to bring together leaders from around the world to discuss the challenges facing religious freedom, identify means to address religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, and promote greater respect and preservation of religious liberty for all.
Brownback has said the Trump administration would announce “additional measures” on religious freedom at the Jul 18 meeting. Pence and Pompeo were expected to deliver speeches on the issue.
More than a thousand participants from over a hundred countries are taking part in the Jul 18 conference.