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What the US lawmakers did not know of what they saw in Tibet

Leader Pelosi and Members of the Congressional Delegation in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. (Photo courtesy: democraticleader.gov)
Leader Pelosi and Members of the Congressional Delegation in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. (Photo courtesy: democraticleader.gov)

(TibetanReview.net, Nov22, 2015) – Repressive measures were used to strictly stage-manage a three-day visit to Tibet’s capital Lhasa by a delegation of seven US House democrats led by the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi from Nov 10 onwards, said Dharamshala-based exile Tibetan administration as well as Radio Free Asia (RFA, Washington) Nov 20. The exile Tibetan administration cited a letter sent by a Tibetan in Lhasa as saying Lhasa was placed under severe repression ahead of the delegation’s visit.

The letter was cited as saying Tibetans were subjected to constant indoctrination and their movements severely curtailed. It was also cited as saying the usual security presence at the Bharkor gates were removed in order to present a picture of a peaceful city.

The RFA report cited an anonymous source in Lhasa as saying that just before the delegation’s arrival the usual heavy security presence was removed from central areas. In addition, “Chinese officials in Lhasa ordered 10 members from each division of each township, and six members from each neighborhood, to participate in staged religious activities.”

Tibetans were reported to have been summoned from all sectors of the Lhasa city government jurisdiction and “forced to circumambulate … the religious sites, while the monasteries in the city were directed to organize religious activities during the three days,” the source was quoted as saying. Many of the people called to stage religious activities were reported to have been paid for their participation.

“Whatever they saw was all staged and part of a deceptive plan to paint the wrong picture, so it is important for all to know the truth,” the source was quoted as saying.

Delegation members have acknowledged after their visit that they only saw what the Chinese wanted them to see, that they were guided by handlers and encountered difficulty meeting with Tibetan residents of the city.

“I think it’s fair to say that … the Chinese government wanted to control as much of our visit as they could. And we saw what they wanted us to see,” prominent House human rights leader Jim McGovern has said.

Likewise, Pelosi had said at least 30 Chinese officers guiding the delegation made sure the US lawmakers stuck to a prescribed route.


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