Katrin Fidencio, USA
“Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights and U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Uzra Ms. Zeya will travel May 17–22 to India and Nepal to deepen cooperation on human rights and democratic governance goals, and to advance humanitarian priorities,” the State Department said on May 16.
However, an official at the US embassy, Kathmandu hinted this news portal over phone that the US dignitary Uzra Zeya will be visiting Kathmandu beginning 20 to 22.
Our own source in Washington claims that Nepal’s newly accredited Ambassador to the US, Professor Shridhar Khatri has already met with this distinguished US lady.
Notably, Zeya was appointed as the Special Coordinator for Tibet issues in December by US President Joe Biden’s administration. The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) has welcomed the Zeya and hoped she would contribute to promoting dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Chinese leadership.
First Indian-American to be appointed to the post, Zeya’s visit comes at a time when the oppressive Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has increased arbitrary crackdown on Tibetans aiming to ‘sinicise’ the occupied territories and abolish age-old Tibetan culture and heritage.“She will also discuss partnering with India and Nepal during this Year of Action for the Summit for Democracy. The delegation will include U.S.AID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Asia Anjali Kaur,” it added.
It will be the first high-level contact between the U.S. and the Tibetan leadership after Joe Biden became President in January last year.
In New Delhi, people familiar with the development said last month that Ms. Zeya will hold talks with the Dalai Lama and other senior leaders of the Tibetan Government in exile in Dharamsala, signalling the Biden administration’s commitment to the Tibetan cause.
Last month, Tibetan exile leader Penpa Tsering paid a visit to Washington D.C. and met Ms. Zeya. Tsering — the elected head of Tibet’s India-based exile Government the Central Tibetan Administration — had also met House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders.
China considers the 14th Dalai Lama as a political exile who has attempted to split Tibet from China under the guise of religion.
According to the people cited above, key issues relating to the Tibetan cause are likely to figure in the talks.
As the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues, Ms. Zeya has been coordinating the Biden administration’s policies, programmes and projects relating to the Tibetan cause.
Ms. Zeya was sworn-in as the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on July 14 last year.
On December 20, she was concurrently appointed as the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues.
The U.S. has been consistently supporting the Tibetan cause notwithstanding China’s strong objection.
In 2020, the U.S. came out with legislation reaffirming the absolute right of Tibetan people to choose a successor to the Dalai Lama and the preservation of Tibet’s environment.
After the U.S. Congress passed the legislation, China had accused Washington of meddling in its internal affairs.
China has been insisting that the selection of the next Dalai Lama has to be decided within Chinese territory and that it has to have a say in the matter.
The issue of a successor to the 14th Dalai Lama, who has been living in exile in Dharamsala since 1959, gained traction as he turned 86 in July last year.
Mr. Blinken had met a representative of the Dalai Lama during his visit to New Delhi last year.
How China reacts to Uzra ZEya’s Kathmandu visit will have to be watched.