WASHINGTON, June 1 (UPI) -- Beijing quietly pressured U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to curtail meeting with dissidents on last week's trip to China, sources say.
Quoting people familiar with the situation, the Washington publication Politico reported that Chinese diplomats in Washington discreetly urged Pelosi to not show up the country's leadership by loudly criticizing Beijing's human rights record as she has done in the past.
Despite the pressure from Beijing, Pelosi did meet with human rights leaders in Shanghai and Hong Kong during her week-long trip that ended Sunday, but it was a far cry from the militant stance in support of dissidents she displayed in a 1991 visit, when she unfurled a pro-democracy banner in Tiananmen Square, Politico reported.
"She hasn't changed her opinions, but she's certainly softened her tone," Richard Bush III, a China scholar with the Brookings Institution who accompanied Pelosi on her Beijing trip in 1991 told the publication. "She just can't afford to be as strident."
The reported purpose of Pelosi's trip was to discuss China's efforts at curtailing global warming ahead of December's Copenhagen conference.