Ambassador Gary Locke in a file photo.
DHARAMSHALA, November 18: Members of the United States Congress in an open letter dated November 17, urged the US Ambassador to China, Gary Locke to visit Tibet and publicly raise the abuses suffered by the Tibetan people.
Congressmen Frank R. Wolf, James P. McGovern, and Joseph Pitts in the letter, urged Locke to visit Tibet in his capacity as U.S. ambassador and “speak with the Tibetan people and faith leaders, press for a fact-finding mission into the Kirti monastery.”
“Raise the Chinese government’s repressive policies in Tibet with senior party officials and publicly use your platform as Ambassador to make it clear to the Tibetan people that they have a friend in the United States of America”.
All the three Congressmen who are members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, under the US Congress, noted that the recent testimonies of Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay and His Eminence Kirti Rinpoche were “moving and deeply disturbing”.
The democratically elected leader of the Tibetan exile administration, Dr Sangay and the exiled head of the distraught Kirti monastery, H.E. Kirti Rinpoche had testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on ‘Human Rights in Tibet:
Repression, Refugees, and Religious Freedom’ earlier this month.
The members of the Commission, named in honor of the life and legacy of the late Congressman Thomas Peter Lantos, a Holocaust survivor, said that it was imperative for Locke, who took office as the lead US representative in China in August this year, to publicly raise the issue of Tibet.
“It is important for you as the lead representative of the United States in China to publicly declare that the Chinese government must respect the peaceful religious, political, civic, and cultural expressions of the Tibetan people,” the letter said.
“For the United States, this is both morally imperative and politically prudent”.
Last week, at the 19th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit held in Honolulu, Hawaii, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, had expressed her “deep concern” over China's repressive policies in Tibet.
Secretary Clinton had said that the US was "alarmed by recent incidents in Tibet of young people lighting themselves on fire in desperate acts of protest.”