Pelosi Thumbs China’s Eye With Praise for the Dalai LamaPelosi Thumbs China’s Eye With Praise for the Dalai Lama | The Washington Independent
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) met the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, today, praising the Tibetan spiritual leader for his courage and leadership in the face of Beijing’s crackdown on recent anti-China protests 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 we return home we will bring your message and try to meet the challenge to our conscience.
The high-profile visit intensifies the pressure on Beijing’s leaders to restore order in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, where at least 18 civilians have been killed in recent days in clashes between protesters and Chinese military police.
Not that the world isn’t accustomed to this sort of thing from Beijing. China took control over Tibet in 1951, and protests calling for Tibetan autonomy have flared up periodically since then — usually with violence; always without success. The recent conflict has gained greater worldwide audience than others, however, because of China’s role as host of this summer’s Olympic Games.
No word yet on what Pelosi has in mind to do to meet the challenge of her conscience, but President George W. Bush has already declared his plan: He’ll be attending the Olympic Games in August — as a fan of sports, not as a political statement, the administration says. Yesterday, White House press secretary Dana Perino reiterated that distinction, claiming that administration higher-ups “are very concerned about what’s happening in Tibet, and we have expressed those concerns [to Chinese officials].” That’s the White House position as it pertains to the violence, Perino said. And as it pertains to the Olympics? Here’s Perino again:
[C]ertainly the President wants to make sure that our athletes have a really good experience, and I think that most heads of state around the world believe that, too.
That’s all well and good, but if China this year isn’t held in account for its brutal methods, what’s to convince the next tyrannical Olympic host to alter its ways? Recall: the 2014 Winter Games are set to be held in Russia.