Part of trip to Asia & Europe focusing on national security, global economy, bilateral and multilateral relations, and human rightsA bipartisan Congressional delegation led by Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi is visiting Dharamsala in India on May 9 and 10 to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the leadership of the Central Tibetan Administration, and representatives of Tibetan civil society.
This is part of their visit “to India, Nepal, Germany and Belgium focusing on national security, the global economy, bilateral and multilateral relations, and human rights.”
“Our bipartisan delegation travels at a vital time in the U.S. relationship with India, Nepal and our NATO partners,” said Leader Pelosi in a statement on May 4, 2017. “Our delegation looks forward to meetings on how we can strengthening our economic and security relationships, as well as addressing challenges ranging from regional Russian aggression to global human rights.”
Leader Pelosi, who has been a steadfast supporter of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people, previously led another bipartisan Congressional delegation to Dharamsala in 2008, when she was Speaker of the House. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican Member of Congress, also traveled with her in 2008 and is part of this delegation. Pelosi also led a Congressional delegation that visited Tibet in November 2015. Speaking to the media in Washington D.C., after their return, Pelosi said the trip “was one that revealed certain truths, to us. I considered the trip constructive, bridge-building, and we want to continue building that bridge through reconciliation and clearer understanding.
Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “We welcome this initiative by the US Congressional delegation and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. The visit sends a strong message to the Tibetan people that Ms. Pelosi and the United States Congress care deeply about Tibet, and it also reminds China that as long as the Tibetan issue remains unresolved, the international community will continue to put the spotlight on it.”
Among the Congressional Members on the visit is Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA), who was instrumental in introducing bipartisan legislation to promote travel by American diplomats, journalists, and citizens, including Tibetan Americans, to Tibet where access is routinely denied by Chinese authorities. Representatives Jim McGovern and Randy Hultgren (R-IL) introduced the bill, H.R. 1872, the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2017, in the House of Representatives, on April 4, 2017. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) also introduced the RAT Act in the Senate, on April 4, 2017. While Chinese officials and citizens can freely travel to the United States, American citizens wishing to visit Tibet do not enjoy a similar access. The premise of the bill is if China continues to deny access to American citizens into Tibet, then Chinese officials with oversight on Tibet should not be allowed to travel to the United States.
Other Members of Congress joining the bipartisan delegation on the trip are:
- Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member, Foreign Affairs Committee; Energy and Commerce Committee
- Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Appropriations Committee
- Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Ways and Means Committee; Small Business Committee
- Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Financial Services Committee
- Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Vice Ranking Member, Budget Committee; Judiciary Committee