By Tendar Tsering*
Board members of the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota with the U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCollum at her office in St. Paul, Minnesota, Nov. 24, 2015
Minnesota, November 28: Congress Woman Betty McCollum, who was part of the US congressional delegation which visited Tibet earlier this month has said she will share her story from the Tibet with the Tibetans in Minnesota in January.
Briefly speaking to the board members of the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota on Wednesday at her office in St. Paul, Minnesota, the U.S. congresswoman said that she particularly urged the Chinese leaders not to “interfere” in the Tibetan religious tradition of reincarnations.
“I told them not to appoint the religious leaders, because even as a Christian, I don’t want anyone to appoint my pastors,” said Betty McCollum.
While agreeing to share her Tibet trip story with the local Tibetan Americans in Minnesota, the congresswoman said she will come up with a date some time in January and share her Tibet trip story with the Tibetans in the twin cities.
“I would like to speak about the trip and I also have some photos to share,” McCollum said.
McCollum and six others including Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader, visited Tibet and Hong Kong early this month as part of their official trip to China and Tibet.
According to the delegation, the trip was meant, “to deepen understanding, increase mutual respect and further strengthen U.S.-China ties,” but the group also said that they had heated discussions with the Chinese leaders on several issues including the “religious and human rights issues,” in China.
Pelosi, a long time friend of the Dalai Lama and a strong critic of Beijing’s Tibet policy who was denied permission to visit the region six years ago, spoke about her Tibet trip experience to the media immediately after the rare visit.
Following the rare trip, she 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.”
Many Tibetans on social media expressed their gratitude towards Pelosi for her timeless support and making effort to visit Tibet, and the Tibetan American Foundation particularly visited the Congressman Betty McCollum at her office in St. Paul Wednesday to express their collective gratitude to her and the delegation. *Tendar Tsering is a Tibetan journalist based in Minnesota, U.S.A. He reported for phayul.com for several years.