China protests US lawmakers' meeting with Dalai Lama

11 May 2017

China has lodged a protest with the US government against the recent meeting of members of the US Congress with the Dalai Lama at Dharamshala this week. The bipartisan delegation led by Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi raised the issue of human rights violations in China's Tibetan region.

Chinese foreign ministry objected to the meeting on Wednesday saying that it amounted to giving political support to the Tibetan leader, whom Beijing regards as a ''dangerous separatist in monk's clothing''.

"The visit by the relevant delegates of the US Congress to meet the Dalai Lama sent a very wrong signal to the world about Tibet independence and goes against the United States' promises on Tibet," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, adding, "China firmly opposes this and has lodged solemn representations with the US."

The Trump administration has given the impression that it was not interested in raising human rights issues with China. It is keen on working with China on the North Korea issue, and does not want to be distracted by issues like human rights. But the Congress delegation, which comprised both Democrat and Republican representatives, might put pressure on the White House to look into human rights issues more closely.

"We urge relevant Congress people in the US to carefully handle the Tibet issue, stop all communications with the Dalai Lama and take immediate measures to deal with the negative impact of the visit," Geng said.

Talking to Tibetans at Dharmashala, Pelosi said, "You will not be silenced. The brutal tactics of the Chinese government to erase race, culture and language of Tibetan people challenges the conscience of the world. We will meet that challenge."

The Dalai Lama, who has met several past US presidents, has expressed a desire to meet Trump.

The visit of the US Congress delegation to India to meet the Tibetan leader might incline the White House to consider granting an audience to the Dalai Lama.

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