US House leader makes rare trip to Tibet

BEIJING • United States House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi visited Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, this week and met the Chinese Communist Party chief of the region, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman and a report published by the official Tibet Daily.

Mrs Pelosi, who represents California, and her colleagues were on an official trip to China, and Chinese leaders allowed her the rare opportunity to make a tightly controlled visit to the Tibet Autonomous Region, which is under Beijing rule and usually off limits to foreign officials and journalists.

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei confirmed at a news conference that Mrs Pelosi and her delegation had gone to Tibet before travelling to Beijing. He said they had been invited to China by the standing committee of the National People's Congress.

Mrs Pelosi has on many occasions met the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader reviled by China. She has spoken out strongly against Chinese repression in Tibet.

The Tibet Daily said Mr Chen Quanguo, the ethnic Han party chief of the region, told Mrs Pelosi in a meeting on Tuesday that the US should not support any separatist activities and should bar the Dalai Lama from visiting the US.

NEW YORK TIMES, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2015, with the headline 'US House leader makes rare trip to Tibet'. Print Edition | Subscribe