Did Speaker Pelosi Talk Tibet in China?

Among the “burning issues” in Washington, D.C. (actually among those who follow US-China relations and Tibet) currently is what is Speaker Nancy Pelosi is saying in China regarding human rights and Tibet during her first ever visit as the Speaker.

Given her background everyone expected that Speaker Pelosi would be raising issues such as Tibet during this trip. However, developments in the days leading to her departure for China made people feel that Speaker Pelosi may play a different tune in China. First, it appears that the Chinese Government was the one that actually announced her visit.  Subsequently, Pelosi confirmed the trip. Secondly, she announced that she was visiting China to talk about climate change thus avoiding the mentioning of human rights.

Today, Speaker Pelosi met with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao. The media reports do not speak of any topics raised, other than climate change and broad US China relations.  A statement on the Speaker’s website though talks about her delegation raising Tibet with President Hu Jintao.  It says, “Our delegation also emphasized the bipartisan concern in Congress on China’s poor record on human rights in China and Tibet.”

Xinhua’s coverage of Pelosi’s meeting with Hu Jintao is interesting. This version of the report contains eight paragraphs out of which six are devoted to what President Hu told her. What Speaker Pelosi said is restricted to one paragraph while the last paragraph is about her travel schedule.  There is of course no mention of her raising human rights, not to speak of Tibet, with the Chinese leaders.


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