By Tenzin Dharpo
Brownback speaks at the International Conference on Tibetan performing arts, TIPA Auditorium. Oct. 28, 2019 Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 28: The United States Ambassador at large for Religious Freedom Samuel D. Brownback on Monday visited Dharamshala, the virtual capital of the exile Tibetan setup and called on Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his residence here.
The Ambassador also paid a visit to the Tibetan Institute for Performing Arts (TIPA) today for the inaugural of the International Conference on Tibetan Performing Arts where he reiterated Washington’s stance on condemning the persecution of the Tibetan people’s faith and their right to practice their religion in their native under Beijing. “We believe in religious freedom; the United States strongly supports religious freedom. We believe people all over the world deserve this right and they should be able to practice theirs peacefully and freely”, Brownback said.
Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
Brownback who came to Dharamshala on the invitation of the CTA President Dr. Lobsang Sangay also said that the Tibetan people have the right to choose their religious leaders without any interference. “The United States government supports the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama and that the role of picking a successor to the Dalai Lama belongs to the Tibetan Buddhist system, the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan Buddhist leaders. It does not belong to anybody else, not any government or any entity,” he said.
The reiteration of the statement on the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama comes at a time when Beijing is increasingly attempting to assert legitimacy to their claim over the next reincarnation of the foremost Buddhist leader. To counter the move, the United States congress has taken a lead in strengthening the status quo on the matter. The revised Tibet Policy Act that was recently introduced the US House of representatives has provisions on the reincarnation of Tibetan Buddhist leaders including the Dalai Lama.
The head of the Tibetan polity Dr. Sangay expressed admiration and gratitude for the high level US delegation for heeding to his calls and visiting Dharamshala. He said, “Your presence here sends a strong message to the Chinese government. And they will hear it loud and clear that you support the Tibetan people and their right to practice their religion. You are giving them hope and inspiration.”
The visit by the US Ambassador to TIPA also marked the beginning of the institute's 60th-anniversary celebrations and the maiden official event at the institute’s brand new multi-crore Rupee auditorium.
The Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama will preside over a function to inaugurate the newly constructed auditorium of the first institute set up since the Tibetans came into exile in 1959 on Tuesday. Several ex members of the institute have gathered in Dharamsala for the event.