By Phurbu Thinley
Photo by Tenzin Dasel / Phayul.com)
Dharamsala, March 21: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and nine other members of the US congress, including senior Republican lawmaker Jim Sensenbrenner Jr., today met with the Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama.
Speaker Pelosi and her delegation were greeted by thousands of Tibetans Friday when she arrived in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, the seat of the Dalai Lama led Tibetan Government-in-Exile. Hundreds waved American, Indian and Tibetan flags and offered standing ovation as Pelosi, accompanied by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and her delegation arrived at the Main Tibetan Temple for a brief public function.
Pelosi is the first major international official to meet the Dalai Lama amidst growing unrest in Tibet that began last week. She had also issued a statement last week criticizing the Chinese government’s handling of the protests saying: “The violent response by Chinese police forces to peaceful protesters in Tibet is disgraceful.”
Speaking today at Dharamsala, Pelosi said she joined the Tibetans at "a sad time" in order to shed "the bright light of truth" on the situation in their homeland.
The US Congressional delegates denounced Beijing’s accusation that Dalai Lama was responsible for “masterminding” the latest protests across Tibet.
Describing Dalai Lama as “the embodiment of non violence”, Ms Pelosi called for "an independent, outside investigation" to clear the Dalai Lama's name, and challenged the world to "speak out against Chinese oppression." “We join you in seeking the truth,” she told the Dalai Lama.
Speaking separately to media people, Ms Pelosi said, “There is interest among our members to have a resolution calling for such an investigation, to make sure there are no such association between His Holiness and the violence in Tibet.”
Speaker Pelosi talks to media at the Dalai Lama's residence in Dharamsala. (Photo by Tenzin Dasel / Phayul.com)
“We know that this is the case,” she said, adding, “Since the accusation is being made by the Chine Government, we want the record to be clear about it.”
She also demanded China “to allow monitors into Tibet, to allow journalists to see first hand of what is happening in Tibet and to have medical assistance to those who have been injured during the protests and during violent crackdown by the Chinese Government”.
She insisted the world to know the truth about Tibet and described the situation in Tibet as a "challenge to the conscience of the world."
"If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against Chinese oppression in China and Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world," Ms Pelosi said.
Thanking Tibetans for being an inspiration to the world, Pelosi said US congress was there with them to meet their challenge. “This is an honour, I know all of my colleagues shared, that we could visit (Tibetan) people who have so much courage to carry on this fight for nearly fifty years,” Ms Pelosi said.
Ms Pelosi said she was not surprised "about the use of violence on the part of the Chinese government," and said she was hopeful that the violence would not continue in Tibet.
Wisconsin lawmaker Jim Sensenbrenner Jr. said, “In United States Congress, there is no division between Democrats and Republicans on the issue of protecting the Tibetan culture and eliminating the repression in Tibet and elsewhere around the world”. He insisted China on the need to hold dialogue with the Dalai Lama and resolve Tibet issue through non-violence.
Ms Pelosi said she and her team would “go with an added mission” to call upon international community “to have an independent outside investigation of the accusations made by the Chinese Government that His Holiness was the instigator of the violence in Tibet.”
Mrs Pelosi is in India leading a U.S. delegation on climate change talks. She was joined by Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Jim Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), Hilda L. Solis (D-Calif.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Rush Holt (D-N.J.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).