US Congress Backs Tibet in Dalai Lama Visit

United States Congressional Delegation Reaffirms Support for Tibet in Dharamsala Meeting with Dalai Lama

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Members of the US Congressional Delegation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the conclusion of their meeting at His Holiness's residence in Dharamsala, HP, India, on June 19, 2024. (Photo: Tenzin Choejor)

Dharamsala, India — A high-profile bipartisan delegation from the United States Congress, led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), visited Dharamsala today for an audience with the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan leaders. The delegation, comprising both Republican and Democratic members, emphasized their unwavering support for the Tibetan people’s freedom and autonomy.

Chairman McCaul, who spearheaded the recently passed H.R.533, the Resolve Tibet Act, reiterated the United States’ stance against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) attempts to interfere with the succession of the Dalai Lama. “The Chinese Communist Party continues to threaten the freedom of the Tibetan people, and they have even attempted to insert themselves into the succession of the Dalai Lama, but we will not let that happen,” McCaul declared after the meeting.

The delegation included key figures such as Resolve Tibet Act author Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA), Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), and Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA). They met with Sikyong Penpa Tsering, the democratically elected leader of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), and Speaker Sonam Tenphel of the Tibetan parliament in exile.

Rep. McGovern, reflecting on his past visits to Dharamsala, praised the resilience and hope embodied by Tibetan children and the CTA’s democratic governance. “The Tibetan children living here and in diaspora communities around the world and the Tibetan children living under the repression of the PRC, they are Tibet’s future, and they give me such great hope,” he said. He emphasized that the CTA serves as a model of governance for those facing oppression and displacement.

Speaker Emerita Pelosi lauded the Dalai Lama’s enduring message of compassion and resilience, while sharply criticizing the Chinese government. “With his message of knowledge and tradition and compassion and purity of soul and love, he will live a long time, and his legacy will live forever. But to you, President of China, you’ll be gone, and nobody will give you credit for anything,” she said.

Tencho Gyatso, president of the International Campaign for Tibet, expressed gratitude for the delegation’s visit, which she viewed as a testament to America’s steadfast support for Tibet. “China’s misplaced hope is that the Tibet issue will fade away. In reality, the Dalai Lama’s message of compassion and the resilience of the Tibetan people are a source of inspiration,” Gyatso stated.

In a message to Beijing, House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Gregory Meeks (D-NY) urged the Chinese government to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama and the CTA. “We all are here to call on the government of Beijing to immediately stop its countless abuses of Tibetan human rights. It’s time for Beijing to re-engage in dialogue without preconditions with His Holiness and His Representative to reach a negotiated resolution that leads to meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people,” Meeks said.

The Resolve Tibet Act, which passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support and is awaiting President Biden’s signature, underscores that the Tibet-China dispute remains unresolved under international law. It encourages substantive dialogue leading to a negotiated settlement.

Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA), an Indian-American member of Congress, highlighted the spiritual connection shared with the Tibetan people. “When I look around at this audience, I see my brothers and sisters, my spiritual brothers and sisters. So, know, brothers and sisters, that you have one of your own brothers in the United States Congress fighting for your rights, for your freedom, and for your future,” he said.

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) shared a personal story, connecting her mother’s escape from communism in Cuba to the Tibetan struggle. “I have a lot of compassion and empathy for the people who are here today, who want to return to their homelands,” she said.

The delegation’s visit included meetings at the CTA complex and a dinner reception hosted by Sikyong Penpa Tsering, featuring Tibetan cultural performances. The visit is seen as a significant reaffirmation of Congressional support for Tibet amidst ongoing Chinese repression.

Rep. McCaul noted that despite warnings from Beijing, the delegation remained undeterred. “Just this week, our delegation received a letter from the CCP warning us not to come here. But we did not let the CCP intimidate us, for we are here today,” he said.

Sri Lanka Guardian

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