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Bush, Congress to honor Dalai Lama with Congressional Gold Medal

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President George W. Bush will risk angering China by attending a ceremony next week to award a Congress medal to the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, at the bastion of American democracy.

Barely a month after China strongly protested German Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s meeting with the Dalai Lama, the White House said Wednesday that Bush and his wife will participate in the landmark event for the 72-year-old Buddhist spiritual leader at the Capitol building next Wednesday.

“The president and Mrs Laura Bush will attend the ceremony,” national security council spokesman Gordon Johndroe told AFP.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will present the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor the legislature can bestow, to the Dalai Lama.

“He has used his position to promote wisdom, compassion, and non-violence as a solution — not only in Tibet — but to other world conflicts,” said Pelosi, a sharp critic of China’s human rights record.

“The United States must continue to be committed to meeting the challenge that Tibet makes to the conscience of the world,” she said.

A bill to award the medal won the support of more than two thirds of members of both the Senate and House of Representatives last year before it was signed into law by Bush. ::Read More::



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