His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Senator Dianne Feinstein and her husband Richard Blum in Dharamsala, HP, India in 1978. Photo: OHHDL

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Dharamshala — His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibetan leaders expressed sincere condolences on the death of Senator Dianne Feinstein, a long-time supporter of Tibet. They expressed gratitude for her unwavering support for Tibet and said 'she will be remembered as one of the most dedicated and steadfast senators who stood up for the voiceless. Her support for Tibet and the Tibetan people will be valued and remembered with deep gratitude'.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual Leader of Tibet, has sent a letter to Mr James Sauls of Senator Dianne Feinstein's office, expressing his sincere condolences to her family on her passing away on September 29, 2023. His Holiness wrote: "She lived a full and meaningful life in the service of the American public, both in her native state of California and subsequently in her national role as a Senator".

"We first met in 1978 when Richard Blum, her husband, brought her to Dharamshala. Since then, I have received her full support; from my first visit to the US in 1979 to the many initiatives she was involved in leading to the institutionalisation of United States support for Tibet. Her friendship with the then Chinese leader Jiang Zemin was helpful in that it gave us an opportunity to convey our messages of sincerity to the highest level of Chinese leadership," His Holiness explained.

"I am grateful to Senator Feinstein for her steadfast friendship and support," said His Holiness and concluded the letter by offering his prayers.

Sikyong (President) Penpa Tsering of the Central Tibetan Administration has written to Katherine Feinstein, daughter of Senator Dianne Feinstein, to offer his condolences on the death of her mother. Sikyong wrote,"I am writing to express our deepest condolences on the passing of Senator Dianne Feinstein, a cherished friend of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and an extraordinary stateswoman whose legacy profoundly impacted the Tibetan people and our cause".

"In September 1979, as the Mayor of San Francisco, Senator Feinstein extended the inaugural invitation to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, graciously welcoming him to San Francisco and extending upon him the key to the City. This historic invitation marked the first-ever visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the United States, a pivotal moment that fostered understanding and friendship between the people of Tibet and the United States," Sikyong explained.

"Furthermore, Senator Feinstein played a pivotal role as a co-sponsor of the Senate resolution that authorized the Congressional Gold Medal, recognition of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s profound contributions to humanity, peace, and mutual understanding. Additionally, her co- sponsorship of the Tibetan Policy Act represented a significant milestone, outlining, for the first time, the United States’ policy towards Tibet. Through this act, Senator Feinstein paved the way for robust U.S. policy initiatives on Tibet," Sikyong described.

"Senator Feinstein’s unwavering dedication and advocacy for our cause have left an indelible mark on the course of the Tibetan struggle. Once again, on behalf of the CTA and Tibetan people, we convey our deepest sympathies to Senator Feinstein’s family and her well-wishers worldwide. May they find strength and solace in the memories of her remarkable life and legacy," Sikyong concluded.

Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, extended his heartfelt condolences on the sad demise of Senator Dianne Feinstein. The Speaker wrote, “She will be remembered as one of the most dedicated and staunch senator who stood for the voiceless. Her support of Tibet and Tibetans will be valued and remembered with profound gratitude. With her demise, we have lost a great friend of Tibet and one of the towering leaders of the world.”

"Tibetans around the world are with the Feinstein family and the people of the United States at this hour of grief and loss. On behalf of all the Tibetans worldwide, I extend my deepest condolences to your family on this grave day. I pay my respect to the departed soul," the Speaker concluded.