Pelosi hails legacy of Dalai Lama, hits out at China, Xi | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Pelosi hails legacy of Dalai Lama, hits out at China, Xi

By, Dharamshala
Jun 20, 2024 06:18 AM IST

The visit comes days after the US Congress passed a bill urging China to re-engage with the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan leaders to resolve the dispute over the status of Tibet

Former US House speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday accused China and President Xi Jinping of trying to erase Tibetan culture after a meeting with the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala, a day after Beijing, which calls the Tibetan spiritual leader a separatist, expressed concerns over the visit.

Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama exchanges greetings with former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during their meeting at Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, on India. (REUTERS)
Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama exchanges greetings with former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during their meeting at Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, on India. (REUTERS)

“(Chinese authorities) are trying to erase the culture, reduce the use of the language. They are attempting something we cannot let them get away with,” Pelosi said.

“His Holiness Dalai Lama, with his message of knowledge, tradition, compassion, purity of soul and love, will live a long time and his legacy will live forever. But you, the President of China, you’ll be gone and nobody will give you credit for anything,” the senior US lawmaker said in a comment pointedly about Xi.

Pelosi and a bipartisan group of US lawmakers, led by Republican chairman of the House committee on foreign affairs Michael McCaul, held an hour-long meeting with the Dalai Lama at his residence in McLeodganj and also met senior officials from Tibet’s government-in-exile.

The visit comes days after the US Congress passed a bill urging China to re-engage with the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan leaders to resolve the dispute over the status of Tibet. The talks have been frozen since 2010.

The bill, a copy of which was presented to the Dalai Lama by the delegation, rejects China’s contention that Tibet has been part of the country since ancient times and urges Beijing to “cease its propagation of disinformation about the history of Tibet, the Tibetan people, and Tibetan institutions, including that of the Dalai Lama”.

Addressing a group of Tibetans after the meeting, Pelosi said the legislation passed last week sends a clear message to the Chinese government.

“We have clarity in our thinking and understanding of this issue of the freedom of Tibet...We know that the Chinese government is up to. They must get the message, and this legislation sends that message and it will be soon signed by President Biden,” she said.

McCaul said, “This bill makes it clear that the US believes that Tibet has its own unique language, religion and culture. It has a right to self-determination. The bill also requires the state department to aggressively challenge Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda about Tibet.”

The remarks come as Washington and Beijing seek to steady rocky ties, while India is engaged in a dragging military standoff with China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) that has taken bilateral relations to a six-decade low.

Officials from the Tibetan government-in-exile earlier said the US visit and legislation will put pressure on China to engage with them as they seek autonomy for the region.

Congressional approval of the bill is a significant breakthrough, said its leader Penpa Tsering, saying it would put pressure on Beijing to negotiate. But the Dalai Lama had always sought “autonomy or a middle way, not independence” for Tibet, he added.

On Tuesday, Beijing expressed serious concerns over the visit and urged US to “fully recognise the anti-China separatist nature of the Dalai group.”

It also warned the US against signing the bill into law, saying “China will take resolute measures to firmly defend its sovereignty, security and development interests.”

McCaul said the delegation, including Pelosi, had also received a letter from the Chinese Communist Party, warning them against coming to Dharamshala.

“They repeated their false claim that Tibet has been a part of China since the 13th century but we did not let the CCP intimidate us, for we are here today. The Dalai Lama knows that this is not true, that Tibet is a part of China and the people of Tibet know that is not true. The US also knows that it is not true,” he said, adding “That is why we are here today, in defiance of that warning.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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