Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Welcomes Arrival in U.S. of Tibetan Dissident Who Was Longest-Serving Political Prisoner in China

July 15, 2002

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued the following statement today on the arrival in the United States yesterday of Tanag Jigme Zangpo, the longest-held political prisoner in China.

"I welcome Tibetan teacher Tanag Jigme Zangpo to the United States and to the freedom he has been so cruelly denied as the longest-serving political prisoner of China.

Year after year, the human rights situation in China continues to worsen and the international community continues to be silent.

Jigme Zangpo is 74 years old. He has spent nearly 40 years in prison for offenses including hanging a political poster and shouting “Free Tibet” during a state visit. He was released on medical parole in March; yesterday, he was finally reunited with relatives in Illinois.

Jigme Zangpo’s release and unprecedented permission to come to the United States came only after years of pressure from the United States and other Western governments. I commend Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky, for her efforts as Special Coordinator for Tibet, and also to the many Members of Congress with whom I worked who pushed for his release.

Now we call on China to release others held for peaceful expression of their religious beliefs."

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