Home China Tibetans Thrilled, China Sees Red As Pelosi Meets The Dalai Lama

Tibetans Thrilled, China Sees Red As Pelosi Meets The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama with visiting US lawmakers
The Dalai Lama with visiting US lawmakers

Ignoring Chinese warning, a group of U.S. lawmakers met the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala Wednesday and pledged full support in resolving issues of deep concern to the Tibetans.

The Tibetan community is delighted that a bipartisan delegation from the world’s sole superpower has put its weight behind their cause, and categorically stated that the U.S. would prevent Chinese influence over the selection of the Dalai Lama’s successor.

This affirmation comes as a major birthday gift from the Americans to the frail but determined Tibetan spiritual leader, who turns 89 on July 6.

The lawmakers also said that they would press Beijing to resume talks with Tibetan leaders, which have been stalled for 14 years. Talks between China and the Dalai Lama broke down in 2010 after years of dialogue.

In a hard-hitting speech in Dharamsala, former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that “While the Dalai Lama with his massive knowledge, compassion, purity of thought and love …will live a long time and his legacy will live forever, but you, the President of China (Xi Jinping), will be gone and no one will give you credit for anything.’’

Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan with US lawmakers in 2022 had triggered unprecedented Chinese military drills around the island and trade bans.

The U.S. lawmakers are visiting Dharamsala close on the heels of the passage of Resolve Tibet Act, which will soon be signed by President Joe Biden. This visit is a part of the Bill, a copy of which was presented to the Dalai Lama by the visiting delegation.

The US legislation strengthens Washington’s support for Tibet and pushes for negotiations between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama or Tibetan officials in exile, for peaceful resolution of their dispute over the status and governance of Tibet.

Rejecting Beijing’s position that Tibet has been part of China since ancient times, the bill urges China to “cease its propagation of disinformation about the history of Tibet, the Tibetan people, and Tibetan institutions, including that of the Dalai Lama.”

The Central Tibetan Administration is optimistic that the new US law on Tibet and a high-profile visit by American lawmakers to the region will put pressure on China to engage with the government in exile.

Sources in the CTA in Dharamsala told StratNewsGlobal that the Tibetan community is very happy following the visit of the American delegation.

“All the Tibetans here are smiling. Although the American lawmakers were here only for a day, their visit means a lot to us. We feel that a superpower is there to support us. The meeting at the Dalai Lama’s residence lasted about 90 minutes, but it is very reassuring for us. We are waiting for President Biden to sign the Act.’’

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Norzin Dolma, a minister in Tibet’s government-in-exile, was quoted in a news report as saying that the visit by a group of lawmakers, is “very special.’’ The Resolve Tibet Act, passed by the US Congress this month and the visit will help Tibet’s demand for autonomy, she said.

China annexed Tibet in the 1950s. The Dalai Lama and other senior monks fled to India nine years later. They have been living as refugees in Tibetan settlements in some Indian States including Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttarakhand since then.

The US delegation, led by Republican Chair of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, was received by officials of the Central Tibetan Administration at Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra Airport on Tuesday.

A group of Tibetans sang the Indian national anthem as part of the public welcome. After a welcome speech by Sikyong Penpa Tsering, there was a cultural performance by Tibetan schoolchildren.

The Deputy Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Dolma Tsering Teykhang was quoted in news reports as saying the visit shows that Tibet is not alone. “This is a message not only for Tibet but anybody who is aspiring for human rights and for freedom. This is a very big message for all those who are suffering under the intimidation of China and the expansionist mentality of Xi Jinping,’’ she said.

McCaul affirmed President Joe Biden’s intention to sign the ‘Resolve Tibet Act’, which was passed last week by Congress.

China said on Tuesday that Beijing is “gravely concerned” over the visit of the US delegation to Dharamshala.

At the regular Press conference on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian asked the US to fully recognise the anti-China separatist nature of the Dalai Group and to “stop sending the wrong signal to the world.

“It’s known by all that the 14th Dalai Lama is not a pure religious figure, but a political exile engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the cloak of religion,” said Lin.

“We are gravely concerned over the relevant reports and urge the US side to fully recognize the anti-China separatist nature of the Dalai group, honour the commitments the US has made to China on issues related to Xizang, (China’s name for Tibet) have no contact with the Dalai group in any form, and stop sending the wrong signal to the world,” said Lin, who’s also the deputy director of the Information Department of the Ministry of foreign affairs since March 2024.

The Chinese embassy spokesperson in New Delhi also took to X on Tuesday to repeat the message of his foreign ministry parrot fashion. The message, tagging Nancy Pelosi and the McCaul, said that China will take resolute measures to firmly defend its sovereignty, security and development interests.

Noted Tibetologist Vijay Kranti said that while it appears that the U.S is advocating for resumption of a dialogue between leaders of Tibet and China, the text in the three bills are bound to be rejected by Xi Jinping.

Noting that U.S. China relations have been under strain on multiple fronts, he said the U.S. is trying to internationalize the Tibetan issue to counter China’s challenge to its supremacy.

The passage of the motion declaring Tibet’s right to self-determination by Canada’s House of Commons, earlier this month, is a sure sign that America’s efforts of raising the profile of the Tibetan issue in the international community is succeeding. I will not be surprised if the European Parliament does something similar,’’ he said.

Describing the visit as “historic’’, Vijay said the timing of the visit is critical, “as it coincides with the visit of the U.S. NSA, Jake Sullivan and is happening within ten days of Modi taking oath as Prime Minister for the third consecutive term.’’