By Tenzin Dharpo
The U.S. Democratic House Leader, Nancy Pelosi with fellow delegates during the press briefing held at HVC Studio A in Washington D.C. on May 16, 2017. Photo- tibet.net
DHARAMSHALA, MAY 17: The bipartisan United States congressional delegation led by House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi said that the situation in Tibet under China’s regime is a “challenge to the conscience of the world”. The delegation which recently visited the Tibetan exile communities in India and Nepal, and met His Holiness the Dalai Lama said they will not back down from the issue of Tibet until China reevaluate the Tibetan issue. Pelosi was speaking at a press conference held at the Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday.
Earlier last week, the delegation - Jim Sensenbrenner, Eliot Engel, Jim McGovern, Betty McCollum, Judy Chu, Joyce Beatty and Pramila Jayapal - visited Tibetan diaspora communities in Nepal and India. The team also met with the Dalai Lama, President of exile Tibetan government (Central Tibetan Administration) Lobsang Sangay as well as Indian PM Narendra Modi in an attempt to revitalize US commitment to human rights and people of Tibet.
The delegation leader said, “If we do not speak out against the oppression in China and Tibet because of their economic power, we lose moral authority to talk about human rights anywhere else in the world.” The House Minority leader also said that China must take heed to the issues raised by the delegation.
Democratic representative Eliot Engle who was also a part of the delegation that visited Dharamshala in 2008 said that there is “no contradiction” between the ‘One China policy’ and the demand for ‘genuine autonomy’ by the Dalai Lama. He also said that, “China should leave the issue of Dalai Lama’s succession to Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people. They (China) should not impose a house puppet and say it’s the Dalai Lama. It’s a religious issue and not a state issue.”
His fellow Democrat and long time supporter of Tibetan issue, Rep. Jim McGovern pressed for the release of all Tibetan prisoners of conscience including the Panchen Lama adding, “We firmly believe that the People’s Republic of China does not have the authority to name the religious leaders of the Tibetan people.” He also said that he will continue to push for the ‘Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act’ known also as the ‘tit for tat bill’ that seeks uniform access for US lawmakers, journalists and citizens into Tibet as their counterparts do in the US.
Fellow delegates Betty McCollum, Judy Chu, Joyce Beatty and Pramila Jayapal who met the Nepalese PM and FM raised the issue of registration for Tibetans in Nepal who continue to be in limbo with regards to official documentation. They also highlighted the generous hospitality of the Indian government towards the Tibetan exile community.
The bipartisan US delegation visited Dharamshala, considered by many as the virtual capital of the exile Tibetan community, from May 9-10 and Jawalakhel Tibetan settlement in Kathmandu on May 8, earlier last week.