By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 19: The President of the Central Tibetan Administration Sikyong Penpa Tsering expressed gratitude to long-time Tibet supporter Nancy Pelosi on Thursday as she announced that she will be stepping down as the leader of US House Democrats.
“Your presence at the helm of the House has been a great source of hope, inspiration and, above all, assurance,” the President of the Tibetan government-in-exile Penpa Tsering said in a letter. The 82-year-old is also the first woman in American history to become the Speaker of the United States, and has reproached the Chinese government on numerous occasions for human rights abuses in Tibet.
The head of the exile Tibetan polity in his letter urged Pelosi to continue her support as an honorable member of the US Congress, “We are comforted by the fact that we will continue to witness your fearless leadership and service as an honourable member of Congress in the coming year. I look forward to your guidance and advice on our future course.” Sikyong Penpa Tsering had last met Nancy Pelosi at the 8th World Parliamentarians’ Convention in Washington DC in June.
Pelosi strongly condemned the occupation of Tibet during her address at the convention, “The world has a moral duty to speak out with one voice against Beijing’s abuses & stand up for the Tibetan people, and if we do not speak out against human rights abuses in China because of commercial ties, we lose all moral authority to speak out against humans rights, anywhere.”
Speaker Pelosi announced she will not run again for the leadership of the House Democrats, although she plans to remain in the House as a lawmaker. Pelosi’s 12-year leadership as minority leader and eight years as speaker has overseen two house votes to impeach then President Donald Trump in 2019 and 2021. The decision for her retirement, experts opine, may be influenced by the recent attack on her husband, reported to be an act of political violence by an assailant looking for Pelosi.