Bay Area House members meet with Dalai Lama

dalai-lama.gifHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco; Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez; and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, are part of a bipartisan Congressional delegation which met today in Dharamsala, India with the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

Pelosi’s office said the delegation was welcomed by thousands of Tibetans in a ceremony led by Speaker Karma Choephel of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, and then proceeded to an audience the Dalai Lama to discuss issues relating to Tibet and the plight of Tibetan refugees in India. Later, the delegation visited the Tibetan Children’s Village, supported in part with U.S. aid to educate and look after thousands of Tibetan children, most of whom are orphans and new refugees from Tibet; the delegation also met with Tibetan monks, nuns, and children who recently escaped Tibet.

miller.jpg“I am humbled and honored to meet with the Dalai Lama,” Miller said. “It is my hope that our visit today will help draw additional attention and support to the effort by the Tibetan people to live in peace and freedom in their own country. The Chinese government’s brutal crackdown against peaceful protest is abhorrent and must end. The United States, as a leader of free nations, is obligated to support the peaceful efforts of the Tibetans and to condemn China’s repressive measures.”

The Chinese crackdown in Tibet is having repercussions here in the Bay Area. Someone poured flammable liquid on a door at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco early Thursday morning and set it alight, prompting an arson investigation. And San Francisco is bracing for the Olympic torch’s arrival April 9 on its way to the Summer Olympics in Beijing, expecting pro-Tibetan protestors to come out in droves.

Other members of the delegation include House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming Chairman Edward Markey, D-Mass.; Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc.; Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.; Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.; Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash.; Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J.; and Rep. Hilda Solis, D-El Monte.

Read Pelosi’s remarks praising the Dalai Lama’s leadership and calling for an end to the crackdown by the Chinese government in Tibet, after the jump…

pelosi12-14-06.jpg“Thank you, Speaker Karma Choepel for your kind introduction and for inviting us to visit your wonderful community. We could never have dreamed of being here at such an important time.

“There is a special relationship between the United States and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It is a relationship that 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. His Holiness still uses the watch today and it affirms our special relationship.

“Last October, the President of the United States presented the Congressional Gold Medal to His Holiness for his ‘many enduring and outstanding contributions to peace, non-violence, human rights and religious understanding.’ In recognizing his courage we also honor the courage of the Tibetan people, both inside and outside Tibet.

“Today, this delegation from the United States Congress is here to shed the bright light of truth on what is happening in Tibet. In sanskrit the word non-violence means ‘truth insistence.’ Insistence on the truth is what this is all about. We insist that the world know the truth about what is happening in Tibet.

“If freedom loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China’s oppression in Tibet we have lost all moral authority to speak on human rights anywhere in the world. The cause of Tibet is a challenge to the conscience of the world. A challenge we can help meet.

“When His Holiness the Dalai Lama extended an invitation to visit Dharamsala over 20 years ago little did I know I would be here today as Speaker of the House. Little did we know even a few weeks ago that we would be coming here at this critical time. Maybe it is our karma that we are here now to lend support to the Tibetan people. When we return home we will bring your message and try to meet the challenge to our conscience.

“Thank you!”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • IntheKnow

    The US lost all moral authority to talk about human rights when it illegally detained innocent civilians in its prison in Guantanamo where it has held them ever since and in its illegal prisons around the world where it engages in torture. If we want to help refugees, why don’t we start with the 2 million that have been forced out of Iraq due to our illegal occupation and illegal war, sanctioned yes, by some of the morally bankrupt European countries as well? This whole charade is nothing but an attempt to disrupt and bankrupt the Olympics. Funny that after the PRC built a railroad into Tibet which opened up the country two summer ago the thug element of the feudal warlord Dalai Clique didn’t try to bomb and tear up the railroad opening their country to the world. China freed the Tibetan people from slavery and feudalism and supported the feudal class of princes called the Dalai Lama’s. What a joke he was given Nobel Prize, just like Kissinger.

  • Gary Schroeder

    Detroit hired a black Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick and now Detroit is the Murder Capital of the USA. Oakland hired Ron Dellums for Mayor giving Oakland a fighting chance of taking the tile.

    In the past three months alone, the city of 400,000 people across the Bay from San Francisco has logged 34 homicides, more than double than during the same period last year. “It’s very frustrating,” the mayor said in a rare sit-down interview.

    I’m comforted that the mayor is frustrated.