Nancy Pelosi Meets Dalai Lama Despite China’s Disapproval

A high-level bipartisan congressional delegation led by Republican Rep. Michael McCaul traveled to Dharamshala in India last week to meet with officials from Tibet’s exiled government and the Dalai Lama, defying the warnings of officials in Beijing.

The delegation of seven lawmakers, including former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, arrived in the hillside town last Tuesday where the Dalai Lama established as his headquarters after fleeing Tibet following the 1959 failed uprising against China’s rule.

The lawmakers first met with members of Tibet’s government-in-exile that continues to seek more autonomy from China. However, Beijing does not recognize the exiled government and has not held talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama for 14 years.

After meeting with the 88-year-old Dalai Lama last Wednesday, the lawmakers addressed the hundreds of Buddhists gathered at the monastery next to the spiritual leader’s residence.

The lawmakers told the crowds waving US and Tibetan flags that their visit was to highlight the Resolve Tibet Act, which Congress passed on June 12.

Rep. Pelosi told the crowd that the bill was a message to Beijing that there was “clarity in our thinking” on the issue of freedom for Tibet.

The bill refutes China’s claim to Tibet and calls for renewed dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama to find a peaceful solution that would advance some freedom for the Tibetan people.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian last Tuesday urged President Biden not to sign the Resolve Tibet Act and called on lawmakers in Washington not to support freedom for Tibet, warning that Beijing would respond with “resolute measures.”

Lin described the Dalai Lama as a “political exile” who used “the cloak of religion” to engage in “separatist activities.” He called on the delegation of lawmakers to have “no contact” with the Dalai Lama or his representatives.

In addressing the crowd last Wednesday, Rep. McCaul said that the delegation received a letter from officials in Beijing “warning us not to come here.” He said the lawmakers refused to let the Chinese government “intimidate us” and the proof was that they were standing “here today.”