BY VISHAL GULATI
Dharamsala, Nov 19 (IANS) Hours after US Democratic lawmakers re-nominated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to lead the party for another two years, her decades old unwavering support to the cause of the Tibetan people has been reaffirmed with passing of a bipartisan resolution on ‘autonomous’ Tibet. This has elated the Tibetan officials of the government-in-exile.
In a tweet on Wednesday, she informed: “Today, the House sent a strong message with the passage of resolutions calling for the end of China’s human rights abuses.
“The House on a bipartisan basis will always fight for freedom of religion & culture in Tibet and for the rule of law in Hong Kong.”
Elated over Pelosi’s informal re-nomination as the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, officials of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the Dharamsala-based government-in-exile, believe her continuing role will help encouraging the Chinese authorities to re-evaluate its policy toward Tibet.
“We are hopeful of passing of new Tibet Policy and Support Act in the US Senate that will highlight the importance of religious freedom for the reincarnation process,” a CTA’s senior functionary familiar with the development told IANS on Thursday.
For government-in-exile President Lobsang Sangay, who called on Pelosi in September 2019, his top most priority in the last year of his second term of helm is to make an official policy of the US to see the selection of Tibetan Buddhist leaders, including the future Dalai Lama, without any Chinese influence.
Currently, he’s on his second leg of tour to the US in less than a month.
As per his official schedule, with the Tibet policy and support bill as the main agenda of his visit, President Sangay will meet members of the US Congress and other important officials to push for the swift passage of the bill in the senate.
In an exclusive interview with IANS last month, Sangay said the passing of Tibet Policy and Support Act, which builds on the previous of 2002, will be a major update to the US policy on Tibet.
“Among important updates, passing of this Act will make it the official policy of the US to see that the selection of Tibetan Buddhist leaders, including the future Dalai Lama, follows the wishes of the Tibetan Buddhist community and according to the instructions of current Dalai Lama without any influence from the Chinese government.
“The Act will also forbid China from opening a new consulate until a US consulate is allowed in Lhasa,” he added.
Congratulating US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory last week, Sangay said he looked forward to a renewed policy and support on Tibet.
“For decades now, the US has supported the Tibet cause on various fronts, and we are always grateful to the US and its people.
“However, today the concern no longer remains only for the Tibetan people; instead, today the concern is for the global democracy and the universal ideals that have come under threat from authoritarian regime such as China,” he added in the message.
Sangay also hailed Biden’s recent statement vowing to meet Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, continuing a decades-old tradition followed by US Presidents since George Bush Sr, and most prominently during the presidency of Barack Obama, who hosted His Holiness four times in the White House and publicly pronounced strong support for ‘middle-way policy’ of the CTA.
Interestingly, the Dalai Lama himself shares a special bond with Pelosi for whom he often says ‘personal friendship’ for her ‘loyal and unwavering support’ in the past decades to the just cause of the Tibetan people.
Pelosi visited his residence with a bipartisan US Congressional delegation in Dharamsala on May 9, 2017.
“Your friendship, support and solidarity during this most difficult period in Tibet’s long history have been a source of hope, inspiration and strength in our enduring and challenging quest for justice and freedom,” says a post dated January 3, 2019, on the website of the Dalai Lama office.
“Consequently, notwithstanding the uncertainty and upheaval we are presently witnessing in different parts of the world, including the continuing plight of my compatriots in Tibet, I remain hopeful and optimistic that ultimately truth, justice and human reasoning and decency will prevail.”
A US-Dalai Lama relationship began with a gold watch.
“As a boy, the Dalai Lama enjoyed science and mechanics. Knowing this, President Franklin Roosevelt gave the very young Dalai Lama a watch showing the phases of the moon and the days of the week,” the Dalai Lama, now 85 and living in exile in India, frequently tells the story of the watch, describing the gold watch as magnificent and even took it with him when he fled Tibet in 1959.
His Holiness still uses the watch today and his teaching about the connection between science and religion is an inspiring part of his message, says his private office here.
American Presidents and the American people have been inspired by His Holiness, who describes himself as a simple monk, no more, no less.
(Vishal Gulati can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
BY VISHAL GULATI