Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today issued the following statement after leading a historic Congressional delegation to Tibet, Beijing and Hong Kong:
“Our delegation was grateful for the opportunity to travel to Lhasa, Tibet to observe, learn and listen about life on the Tibetan plateau.
“We engaged in candid talks with the Secretary of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), Chen Quanguo; Vice Party Secretary of TAR, Baima Chilin; and Party Secretary of Lhasa, Qi Zhala regarding the importance of respecting Tibet’s autonomy, its ecology, and the human rights and religious freedom of its diverse people.
“Ours was the first Congressional delegation to enter Tibet since the 2008 unrest marked by protests, demonstrations and violence. The delegation recognized China’s commitment to building infrastructure across China, including in Tibet, and addressing climate change. We expressed concerns regarding freedom of religion and expression for the Tibetan people; the preservation of Tibet’s unique cultural, religious and linguistic heritage; and diplomatic and public access to Tibet.
“We also conveyed to the Chinese government officials the strong, bipartisan support the Dalai Lama enjoys in the Congress of the United States and among the American people.
“The delegation was pleased to visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Potala Palace, which served as the living quarters and burial sites for former Dalai Lamas; and the Jokhang Temple, a sacred destination for religious pilgrims. The delegation also met and observed monks at the Sera Monastery.
“In Beijing, the delegation met with the Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Li Keqiang; National People’s Congress Chairman, Zhang Dejiang; and National People’s Congress Vice Chairman, Zhang Ping.
“The delegation and Chinese officials discussed the importance of building upon President Obama and President Xi’s agreements on climate change, protection of cyber space and countering the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
“The delegation reiterated the imperative of respect for religious freedom and expression in Tibet; autonomy and democracy in Hong Kong; and respect for human and women’s rights across China. The delegation also expressed specific concerns related to the recent arrest and detention of human rights lawyers and activists.
“At Peking University, the delegation participated in a climate change forum with students who shared their determination to address the climate crisis.
“While in Hong Kong, our delegation met with Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung and discussed the imperative of preserving Hong Kong’s autonomy and the importance of the US-Hong Kong bilateral relationship.
“The delegation also met with Pan-Democratic, Labor and Liberal Party legislators. Our discussions with these legislators, civil society activists and student leaders, focused on the imperative of preserving Hong Kong’s autonomy, advancing democracy, and protecting the rule of law and human rights.
“Our purpose for this trip was to deepen our understanding, increase our mutual respect and further strengthen US-China ties. Throughout the trip, we engaged in respectful and candid discussions on issues of importance and look forward to continuing our dialogue.
“The delegation is grateful to U.S. Ambassador Max Baucus, US Counsel General Clifford Hart, and the US country teams in Beijing and Hong Kong for their leadership and service.”
In addition to Leader Pelosi, the Members of the delegation are:
- Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), Co-Chair, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission; Member, Agriculture Committee, Rules Committee
- Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), Appropriations Committee
- Congressman Timothy Walz (D-MN), Armed Services Committee, Agriculture Committee, Veterans Affairs Committee; Congressional-Executive Commission on the People’s Republic of China
- Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Member, Financial Services Committee
- Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Foreign Affairs Committee, Natural Resources Committee; Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
- Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA), Budget Committee, Oversight and Government Reform Committee; Congressional-Executive Commission on the People’s Republic of China