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Rapturous Welcome for US Delegation in Dhasa

By Sarah Parsons West  /  May 11, 2017;

Photo: Contact/Lha

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama graced the public felicitation in honour of a visit by a United States Congressional Delegation to Dharamshala. Welcomed by a large crowd at Tsuglakhang Temple, the main temple in Dharamshala, the morning message was one of hope and appreciation.

The visit of this US Congressional delegation, led by House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, reaffirms the US commitment to the cause of the Tibetan people, and support for the work of His Holiness, world-wide.

His Holiness described the United States as the global leader for world peace. “America is a leading nation of the free world and plays a pivotal role in the promotion of peace around the world…Nancy Pelosi has been one of the longest friend and supporter of the Tibetan people…I thank all of you today”, said His Holiness.

His Holiness addresses the public felicitation function organised for the US Congressional delegation Photo: Contact/Lha

He continued, “It is important to remember that Tibet supporters are not merely supporting us because of attachment; they are supporting the spirit of truth and justice, which is the core strength of our struggle. The Tibetan struggle represents that of truth, justice, non-violence and Tibetan people’s determination to preserve this culture has generated intense support for Tibet from people of all corners of the world”. His Holiness reaffirmed his commitment to nonviolence and said that the challenge before us is to make the new century a century of non-violence and dialogue.

Photo: Contact/Lha

Ms Pelosi spoke of the hope Tibetans have to preserve their culture while in exile; as well as the ever present hope of returning to their country. “To quote His Holiness, hope exists between faith and religion,” she said. She continued with the need for support through action, for the dignity of all people throughout the world. “We lose all authority to speak about the morality of human rights if we do not speak out against China, simply because of their economic power.”

Eliot Engel, the US delegate from New York, spoke to the same point, “To the leadership in Beijing, get out of Tibet.” Representative Jim McGovern agreed, “We ask China to let go of the repression,” highlighting the delegation’s desire for a China-Tibet dialogue to be restarted. “We hope China will see the light,” said Ms Pelosi. “For the US, the autonomy of Tibet is inevitable.”

“His Holiness is the heart and soul of Tibet,” said Lobsang Sangay, Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) President of the Tibetan Government-in-exile. Mr Sangay recalled meeting the delegates in Washington, DC three years earlier to set plans for Tibet. “Seven out of eight points that the delegation set for Tibet have been implemented. You don’t just talk the talk; you walk the walk.” Further expressing his appreciation for US support he said, “Your delegation sends a message of hope to Tibetans inside Tibet, and a message of hope for freedom to the world.”

TIPA performers
Photo: Contact/Lha

Mr Sangay voiced his desire for the current US administration to continue their support, “We hope President Trump will encourage dialogue between Chinese leadership and the Dalai Lama soon.” He continued, “As long as there’s a Tibet, a Dalai Lama will exist to fight for the freedom of Tibet”.

“There’s no disagreement on our love and respect for His Holiness and the oppression of the Tibetan people,” Republican delegate Jim Sensenbrenner said. “This is a civil rights issue of suppression, and we in congress are with you and your cause. With justice comes freedom.”

Performers from the Tibetan Institute for the Performing Arts (TIPA) sang between speeches, including a song that celebrates the 80th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Photo: Contact/Lha

Meanwhile, China lodged a diplomatic protest with the US about the visit, saying it violated America’s commitment not to support Tibet’s independence. Geng Shuang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said “The meeting has sent very wrong signal to the world about supporting Tibetan independence”.

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