By Tenzin Monlam
DHARAMSHALA, December 6: American actor and long time supporter of Tibet, Richard Gere will be testifying before the United States Congress on the subject of ‘US Policy Towards Tibet: Access, Religious Freedom, and Human Rights’ today at 2 PM (local time) in Washington DC.
Gere, the Chairperson of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) will be joined by Tenzin Tethong, Director of the Tibetan Service, Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Carl Gershman, President of National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as witness at the Hearing hosted by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
According to ICT, the timing of the Hearing falls on a ‘crucial moment’ for the evaluation of Tibet Policy after President Donald Trump failed to speak publicly on the issue of human rights and Tibet.
“Amid the ongoing turbulence in the Asia-Pacific, China’s growing oppression in Tibet has not received sufficient international attention. Observers believe the Tibetan people’s struggle for survival, dignity and autonomy is approaching a crossroads,” said Ted Yoho, Chairman of the Subcommittee.
He also added that the growing question over the succession of the 14th Dalai Lama brings ‘uncertainty’ for the peaceful resistance movement. He fears that China designating its own successor may cause Tibet to boil over.
“In this hearing, the Subcommittee will hear from experts on the current situation, their projections for the future and recommendations on how to promote access, religious freedom and human rights in Tibet,” he said.
Matteo Mecacci, President ICT, said that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has described today’s Tibet as almost the darkest period in Tibet’s history and Chinese policies represent ‘serious threat’ to the survival of Tibetan Buddhist culture, identity and its fragile environment.
Reminding the importance of rendering support for Tibet cause, he said, “It has never been more important for Congress to express its support, reflecting the long and broad bipartisan support that exists for the Dalai Lama and Tibet among the American public. This should serve as a strong statement to Chinese leaders that the international community will continue to hold them accountable for the violation of the Tibetan people’s rights.”