US Congress delegation meets Dalai Lama, says Tibetans have right to self-determination

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama with former US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the US Congressional delegation after a meeting at his residence, in Dharamsala, Wednesday, June 19, 2024.
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama with former US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the US Congressional delegation after a meeting at his residence, in Dharamsala, Wednesday, June 19, 2024.

Dharamsala (HP) | The Tibetans have the right to self-determination and should be allowed to practise their religion freely, US House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Michael McCaul said Wednesday after he led a delegation here to meet spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

The visit by the US Congressional delegation that included former US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi comes days after the US Congress passed the Resolve Tibet Bill, calling for a peaceful resolution on the status of Tibet.

China has warned that it would take "resolute measures" if US President Joe Biden signs the bill into law.

At a felicitation ceremony held after the seven US Congress members met the Tibetan leader, McCaul said the delegation had defied a warning from the Chinese Communist Party.

"The Tibetan people possess a distant religion, culture and historic identity and they should have a say in their own future. You should be able to freely practise your religion and that is why we are here today in defiance of the CCP warning," he said.

“Our delegation received a letter from the CCP warning us not to come here. They repeated their false claim that Tibet is part of China since the 13th century but we did not let the CCP intimidate us and we are here today," he said at the event organised by the Dharamsala-based Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).

He added that the Dalai Lama, the people of Tibet and the US know that Tibet is not part of China.

The US delegation included Mariannette Miller, Gregory Meeks, Nicole Malliotakis, Jim McGovern and Ami Bera.

At his resident, the Dalai Lama told them that he wanted people of the world to be happy and peaceful.

“We are the same human beings, we all have the same rights and this world belongs to humanity. We should take care of the world irrespective of religion and tradition," he was heard saying in a video clip.

Referring to the Tibet policy bill, McCaul said at the later event that the timing of the visit could not be better. The bill also required aggressively challenging the CCP “propaganda” on Tibet, he added.

"I presented the Dalai Lama with a wind chime, which will remind him of our support," he said.

"Like many of you, I wish that this meeting was happening in your homeland of Tibet, but 65 years ago you were forced to flee after the Chinese Communist Party annexed Tibet and slaughtered tens of thousands of Tibetan people," he said.

The delegation leader claimed that the CCP was determined to eliminate Tibetan culture and forcibly bring the Tibetan people under its control.

Thanks to the kindness of the Indian people the Tibetans who fled their homeland are able to live freely in this country and practise their religion without fear of persecution.

"It is still my hope that one day His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his people will return to Tibet in peace," McCaul said.

He said the CCP continues to threaten the freedom of the Tibetan people decades later, and accused China of interfering with the process of finding a successor to the Dalai Lama.

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