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China protests against US delegation visit to meet Dalai Lama, warns Biden against signing Tibet Bill

A high-level US delegation comprising of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived at Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, to visit the Dalai Lama. The US is also deliberating on 'Resolve Tibet Act', which rejects Chinese "disinformation" on Tibet and urges it to hold talks with the Dalai Lama.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Beijing Updated on: June 18, 2024 20:42 IST
Former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi upon her arrival at
Image Source : PTI Former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi upon her arrival at the Kangra Airport, in Dharamshala.

Beijing: After a high-level US delegation, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, arrived in India to meet the Dalai Lama in Himachal Pradesh, China expressed "strong concern" over the visit and warned President Joe Biden of "resolute measures" if he decides to sign the Tibet Bill aimed to direct funds to counter Beijing's "disinformation" on Tibet's history. The Republican chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, is leading the bipartisan congressional delegation to India. 

"The delegation includes Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), House Rules Committee Ranking Member Jim McGovern (D-MA), House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific Ranking Member Ami Bera (D-CA), and Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), and Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY)," the official press release of the House Foreign Affairs Committee read on the India visit.

“India is the world’s largest democracy and an important strategic partner of the United States,” stated Chairman McCaul. “I look forward to meeting with government officials and the American business community to learn how we can continue to strengthen our relationship with India. I am also honoured to have the opportunity to meet with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama,” said McCaul.

Pelosi also met the Tibetan spiritual leader after arriving at Kangra airport, where she was received by officials of the Central Tibetan Administration. "It's very exciting to be here," said Pelosi on her way to Dharamshala, where the Tibetan government-in-exile resides.

What did China say?

Reacting to the visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Lin Jian, called the Dalai Lama "a political exile" who was engaged in "anti-China separatist activities under the cloak of religion". Notably, China officially refers to Tibet as Xizang, after a bloody invasion in 1950 that killed thousands of civilians, causing the Dalai Lama and other officials of the government-in-exile to flee.

“We are gravely concerned over the relevant reports and urge the US side to fully recognise the anti-China separatist nature of the Dalai group, honour the commitments the US has made to China on issues related to Xizang, have no contact with the Dalai group in any form, and stop sending the wrong signal to the world”, Lin said.

The Chinese spokesperson said that Tibet's (Xizang) affairs are "purely China's domestic affiars" and no external interference would be allowed, additionally claiming that the region enjoys "social stability and harmony, with sound economic performance and people's well-being well protected".

What is the 'Resolve Tibet Act'?

Lin also urged Biden not to sign the bipartisan Tibet policy bill adopted by both the US Senate and the House of Representatives, known as the 'Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act' or 'Resolve Tibet Act'. The bill awaits Biden’s signature to make it into law, as per media reports in Washington.

"We urge the US side to adhere to its commitments of recognizing Xizang as part of China and not supporting "Xizang independence." The US must not sign the bill into law. China will take resolute measures to firmly defend its sovereignty, security and development interests," Lin added.

The Resolve Tibet Bill rejects the Chinese government’s claim that Tibet has been part of China since ancient times, and would make it US policy that the dispute over Tibet’s status is unresolved. It urges China to "cease its propagation of disinformation about the history of Tibet, the Tibetan people, and Tibetan institutions, including that of the Dalai Lama" and begin talks with the Dalai Lama on how Tibet is governed.

China in April this year said it would talk only with the representatives of the Dalai Lama and not the officials of the Tibetan government in exile based in India. At the same time, China ruled out dialogue on the Dalai Lama’s long-pending demand for autonomy in his homeland.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | US ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reaches Kangra to meet Dalai Lama, says 'it's very exciting...' | WATCH

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