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Tibet is a challenge to the world: Top US official
March 21, 2008 13:34 IST
Describing the situation in Tibet as a challenge to the "conscience of the world", Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on Friday asked all freedom-loving people to speak out against China's "oppression".
Arriving to a rousing welcome here, she said the US Congress will continue to meet the challenge of conscience that Tibet offers.
"Situation in Tibet is a challenge to conscience of the world...the challenge we can help meet," Pelosi said at a public reception accorded to her in this Hill town of the majestic, snow-capped Dhauladhar mountain range .
The Dalai Lama [Images], the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile along with all members of the Tibetan parliament welcomed Pelosi and the nine members of the US Congress at the main Buddha temple in Dharamshala.
Pelosi, who had a meeting with the Dalai Lama, said Tibetan struggle demanded the truth from China on the situation in Lhasa and other adjoining areas.
"We insist that the world know what the truth is 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," said Pelosi, the third-ranking official of the US.
China, which has voiced its opposition to her meeting with the Dalai Lama, is understood to be closely watching her trip to Dharamshala.
Pelosi was instrumental in the US' decision last year to confer the Dalai Lama with the Congressional Medal, a top US civilian honour.
Dharamshala, which is home to many Tibetans living in exile, has been witnessing sproadic anti-China protests for the past weeks since Bejing began the crackdown against pro-independence demonstrators in Lhasa.
Tibetan monks have been taking out protests marches from the town square to the main Buddha temple shouting anti-China slogan several times during the day. As the sun sets on the town, Tibetans turnout in large numbers for a candle-light vigil.
Several others are on a hunger strike outside the temple.
The town is all plastered with photographs of Tibetans tortured allegedly in Chinese jails. Tibetan flags dot the townscape with 'Free Tibet' slogans on walls everywhere.