July 10, 2015
The House of Representatives of the US Congress passed a unanimous resolution on Wednesday, 8 July calling on China “for substantive dialogue, without preconditions, in order to address Tibetan grievances and secure a negotiated agreement for the Tibetan people”. The resolution also honours His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his 80th birthday.
The resolution was passed after a discussion on the situation inside Tibet. The Resolution was introduced on 24 June 2015 by Congressmen Eliot Engels, Matt Salmon, Jim McGovern and Joe Pitts and had 29 original cosponsors.
“I’m proud to have offered this resolution that calls for the Chinese government to sit down with Tibet’s leaders without preconditions, listen to their grievances, and work toward an agreement that guarantees the rights and security of the Tibetan people,” Congressman Eliot Engel, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said.
In his speech on the House floor, Representative Engel said human rights conditions for the Tibetan people continue to deteriorate in Tibet as more monasteries come under government control, and as more people are arrested, the desperation of the Tibetan people grows.
“Tragically, more than 140 Tibetans have burned themselves alive in protest of growing oppression. Yet the Chinese authorities have not changed course. Despite talk of mutual respect and social harmony, the reality in Tibet tells a very, very different story,” he said.
“So today, we look to the example set by the Dalai Lama and call for meaningful change for the Tibetan people. The Dalai Lama’s life has been a ceaseless, peaceful journey toward a better future for his people. It’s in that spirit that we call on the Chinese government to negotiate without preconditions,” Engel said.
The Congressman said His Holiness the Dalai Lama has shown that democratic institutions can thrive alongside spiritual leadership.
“It’s in that spirit that we urge the Chinese government not to involve itself in the spiritual succession process for the next Dalai Lama, should there be one,” he said.
“The Dalai Lama has championed freedom of expression and freedom of conscience to promote mutual understanding and harmony. It’s in this spirit that this resolution calls on China to allow unrestricted access to officials, journalists, and other American citizens,” he said adding that the US has an obligation to hold up these freedoms.
“That’s why this measure also calls on our own government to press the issues of human rights, political rights, and religious rights at the highest levels of the Chinese government, and to call for the immediate release of Tibetan political prisoners,” he said.