Saturday, March 22, 2008

Breaking with China?

At least some U.S. leaders have the courage to condemn China's violent response to pro-independence protesters in Tibet. While President Bush has kept quiet as soldiers attacked demonstrators, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and three presidential candidates, Sens. John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have spoken out against China's crackdown. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the administration has expressed its concerns to China in private, according to the New York Times, but Bush has committed to attending the Summer Olympics in Beijing in August even as calls for a boycott grow louder. Pelosi visited the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader, in India on Friday and called China's response to the protests "a challenge to conscience of the world." The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since 1959, when China crushed an uprising in Tibet. Tibet has been under Chinese control since 1950. "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," Pelosi said. China's ambassador to India, Zhang Yan, characterized Pelosi's visit as interference in China's internal affairs. Bush welcomed the Dalai Lama to the White House in October, a visit that was condemned at the time by China.

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