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Tibetan PM expresses gratitude to Speaker Pelosi for her support

November 8, 2010

By Phurbu Thinley
Phayul
November 5, 2010

Dharamsala, November 5 -- Tibet's Prime Minister
in exile Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche has written a
letter thanking the speaker of the US House of
Representative Nancy Pelosi for her "steadfast
support" to Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom.

The letter was written in the wake of Tuesday's
US mid-term elections in which Democratic Party,
to which Pelosi belongs, lost its majority,
marking the end of her reign as Speaker of the House.

"We hope that you will not think the latest
electoral result of the mid-term polls as a final
judgment of the performance of the Democratic
Party by the American people. We will hope you
will take as a victory for America and it's
vibrant democratic culture," the Tibetan PM wrote in a letter dated November 3.

"While expressing our deep appreciation to your
outstanding service to the people of America, we
take this opportunity to state the profound
gratitude of the Tibetan people for your
steadfast support for the efforts of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama to end the suffering of the Tibetan people," Rinpoche added.

Pelosi, 70, however, won her 12th consecutive
term to the seat she has held in San Francisco
since 1987 with 80 percent of the vote. She is in
her second term as Speaker of the House of
Representatives, having made history in 2007 when
she was elected first woman to serve as Speaker
of the House. She first made history in November
2002 when House Democrats elected her the first
woman to lead a major political party.

Pelosi has long been an advocate for human rights
around the world. She has fought to improve
China's human rights record, attempting to tie
trade to increased human rights standards. A long
time-friend of the exiled Tibetan leader the
Dalai Lama and a tough critic of Beijing's human
rights record, Pelosi has been "a leader on
efforts to free the people of Tibet."

During a visit to China in May 2009, Pelosi asked
Chinese President Hu Jintao to release
individuals detained or imprisoned in China,
among them dissidents, pro-democracy activists,
journalists and pro-Tibetan advocates.

As a house speaker she played instrumental role
in awarding the US Congressional Gold Medal to
the Dalai Lama in 2007. Also in October 2009,
Pelosi presented the first Lantos Human Rights Prize to the Dalai Lama.

In her statement marking Dalai Lama's 75th
birthday in July this year, Pelosi said: "The
Dalai Lama has made the human rights situation in
Tibet an issue of international concern, and it
is long past time to resolve it. A negotiated
agreement would ensure internal stability in
Tibet and bolster China’s reputation in the world."

A statement on her official site also carries her
commitment to "continue to support the struggles
of the Tibetan people and honor the sacrifice of
those who gave their life fighting for freedom".
"We must be committed to meeting the challenge of
human rights in Tibet if we are to work for human
rights around the world," she says.

In March 2008, amidst growing unrest in Tibet
against Chinese rule, Pelosi led a 10-member US
congressional delegation that visited Dharamsala,
the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in
northern India. She became the first major
international official to meet the Dalai Lama and
to openly denounced Beijing’s accusation that
Dalai Lama was responsible for "masterminding" the protests in Tibet.

At the time, she said she was in Dharamsala to
join Tibetans at "a sad time" in order to shed
"the bright light of truth" on the situation in their homeland.

"We still remember with great fondness your visit
to Dharamsala in the spring of 2008 to show your
support for the non-violent efforts of the people
of Tibet for greater freedoms," Rinpoche wrote in his letter to Pelosi.
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