Congressional leader calls for international condemnation of China

A leading US politician walked hand in hand with the Dalai Lama and called on the international community to condemn China for its crackdown in Tibet.

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, said she was not surprised by China's violent actions but warned that the "world is watching".

Ms Pelosi, the first senior foreign politician to meet the Dalai Lama since the violence erupted in Tibet two weeks ago, claimed the crisis in the region was "a challenge to the conscience of the world". She added: "If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China's oppression in China and Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world."

Other than warm words, Ms Pelosi and her Congressional delegation had little practical help to offer the Tibetan exile community that has been reeling in the aftermath on the violence that has left an unknown number of people dead.

But her visit continues to give the movement publicity and Ms Pelosi and her colleagues were afforded a rapturous welcome from thousands of Tibetans when they visited the government-in-exile's headquarters in the Indian town of Dharamsala.

"Perhaps it's our karma, our fate, to be with you at such a sad time," said Ms Pelosi. "It is our karma we know, to help the people of Tibet."

The visit by Ms Pelosi came two weeks after riots broke out in Lhasa and elsewhere in protest against Chinese rule. Despite calls for restraint from the international community, China has responded with a violent crackdown involving the dispatch of thousands of troops. It said 16 people have been killed but the exile community says the real figure is approaching 100. An untold number of people have also been injured.

Information released by the government-in-exile suggested that thousands of Chinese troops have converged in Tibetan areas of western China. Its spokesman Thubten Samphel said it had information which suggested a further 19 Tibetans had died in China's Gansu province in recent days, taking the death toll in the region to 99.

The Chinese versions of the US-based websites MSN and Yahoo! have published a list of names and photographs of 24 Tibetans accused by the Chinese authorities of involvement in protests in Lhasa. The grainy pictures are apparently taken from video footage shot during the unrest. "It beggars belief that Yahoo! is acting as China's right-hand man in its brutal crackdown on Tibetan protesters," said Matt Whitticase, from the Free Tibet Campaign. "Yahoo! knows very well that these protesters will have no access to legal representation and that either execution or long prison sentences and torture awaits any protester arrested in Lhasa."

China has repeatedly blamed the Dalai Lama for orchestrating the violence and has denounced him. At the same time, China said it was prepared to negotiate with the Tibetan spiritual leader if certain conditions were met. Earlier this week, the Dalai Lama said he too was prepared to meet the Chinese leadership, if there was clear evidence it wanted to enter dialogue to achieve a mutually acceptable solution to Tibet.

Ms Pelosi called for an international investigation into the circumstances surrounding the protests and violence in Tibet.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links