US Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday reaffirmed Washington’s continued support to the Tibetan cause and accused China of using economic leverages to silence friends of Tibet.

The senior Democratic leader from the US House of Representatives took a tough stand over the situation in Tibet and said: “We will not be silenced by the brutal tactics of China.”

“China uses its economic leverages to silence the voices of friends of Tibet,” Pelosi said in her address at a public event here where Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was also present.

Beijing, which accuses the Dalai Lama of trying to split Tibet from China, on Wednesday slammed the US after Pelosi met the Dalai Lama, saying the meeting gave “a wrong signal of supporting Tibetan independence”.

Pelosi, leading a bipartisan eight-member Congressional delegation, flew into Dharamsala on Tuesday to meet the 81-year-old Nobel peace laureate and top officials of the Tibetan government-in-exile here.

“But if we do not speak out against repression in Tibet because of China’s economic power, we lose all moral authority to talk about human rights anywhere else in the world,” she said.

“We will not be silenced, you will not be silenced.

“The brutal tactics of the Chinese government towards religion, culture and language of the Tibetan people challenges the conscience of the world.

“We will meet that challenge, working together we will meet that challenge.”

Recalling her visit to Tibet in November 2015, Pelosi said: “We went to the Potala Palace and we saw the room where His Holiness lived. We promised each other then and there that we would do everything in our power to make sure he (Dalai Lama) would return to that place.”

Pelosi, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, is a long-time supporter of the Tibetan cause.

Describing the Dalai Lama as a man of hope, she said the Dalai Lama will live to be at least 113 years old.

Besides Pelosi, the delegation included Jim Sensenbrenner, Eliot Engel, Jim McGovern, Betty McCollum, Judy Chu, Joyce Beatty and Pramila Jayapal.

Sensenbrenner, the lone Republican in the delegation, assured the bipartisan support of the US Congress on Tibet and love and respect for the Dalai Lama.

“We believe in you (Dalai Lama) and stand with you,” McGovern said. He urged the Trump administration to meet the Dalai Lama.

Tracing her roots to India which she left when she was 16 years old, Jayapal said “truth will always win”.

Speaking on the occasion, the Dalai Lama hoped that China and Tibet will have “mutual trust”.

“My sincere hope is that the future of Tibet and China will move beyond mistrust to a relationship based on mutual respect, trust and recognition of common interests,” he said.

The Tibetan leader urged his followers to overcome conflicts through dialogue and non-violence.

“Even in my own struggle for the rights and greater freedom of the Tibetan people, these values continue to guide my commitment in pursuing a non-violent path.”

The Dalai Lama lives in India along with over 100,000 Tibetans.

First Published | 10 May 2017 9:11 PM
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