Politics, Americas, Asia - Pacific

US lawmakers meet with Tibet's spiritual leader Dalai Lama in India amid China criticism

‘Stop sending wrong signal to the world,’ says China's Embassy in New Delhi

Ahmad Adil  | 19.06.2024 - Update : 19.06.2024
US lawmakers meet with Tibet's spiritual leader Dalai Lama in India amid China criticism Photo Credit: Leslie Shedd, House Foreign Affairs Committee


A high-level bipartisan delegation of US lawmakers on Wednesday met with Tibet's spiritual leader Dalai Lama in India's northern Himalayan state, despite China urging Washington to avoid contact with the head of Tibetan Buddhism.

The seven-person delegation, led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul and also includes former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, met with the 88-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate at his monastery in Dharamsala town in Himachal Pradesh.

The Dalai Lama left Tibet in the late 1950s and settled in Dharamsala, where he remains the spiritual leader of "Tibetans in exile."

China, which annexed Tibet in the 1950s, considers him a separatist.

In 1951, India welcomed the Dalai Lama and granted him asylum.

Ahead of Wednesday's meeting, China urged the US to "fully recognize the anti-China separatist nature of the Dalai group."

“It’s known by all that the 14th Dalai Lama is not a ‘pure religious figure’, but a political exile engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the cloak of religion,” a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in India wrote on X.

“We urge the US side… (to) honor the commitments the US has made to China on issues related to Xizang, stop sending the wrong signal to the world.”

Xizang is the Chinese name for Tibet.

The statement added, “We urge the US side to adhere to its commitments of recognizing Xizang as part of China and not supporting ‘Xizang independence’. China will take resolute measures to firmly defend its sovereignty, security and development interests.”

The delegation arrived in the Indian Himalayan state on Tuesday, with McCaul saying, “We are very excited to see his holiness tomorrow to talk about many things, including the bill that just passed out of Congress that basically says that the USA stands with the people of Tibet.”

The group's visit coincides with US President Joe Biden's expected signing of legislation known as the "Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act," which was passed by the US Congress this month and aims to promote dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama toward a "peaceful resolution of the long-standing dispute between Tibet and China."

Foreign leaders meeting with the Dalai Lama have always angered China.

In 2015, China criticized the Tibetan spiritual leader's visit to the US.

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