April 18, 2006
Tibetans in the nation’s capital region have requested President Bush to use the opportunity accorded by the visit to White House by President Hu Jintao on April 20 to urge the Chinese leader to “take concrete actions to resolve the Tibetan problem without any preconditions”. This was contained in a letter to President Bush by the Capital Area Tibetan Association, representing the Tibetan community in DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia. The letter was delivered directly to the White House during a meeting convened by it on April 17 to brief NGOs on Hu’s visit. The Tibetans assert that “the situation in Tibet under Chinese rule is dire and the Tibetan people continue to be oppressed and denied their basic human rights” and that “the Chinese Government has not shown any similar desire to resolve the Tibetan issues” notwithstanding the recent contacts between Tibetan negotiators and Chinese officials.
The Tibetans specifically urged President Bush to call upon President Hu to make a “a public commitment to take concrete positive action to resolve the Tibetan problem in line with the efforts being made by His Holiness the Dalai Lama”; end repressive measures in Tibet and to release all Tibetan political prisoners, including the young Panchen Lama, Gendun Choekyi Nyima. A letter with similar demands addressed to the Chinese leader was also delivered the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC.
Lhundup Amdo, President, Capital Area Tibetan Association
Full Text of Letter to President Bush
April 15, 2006
His Excellency George Bush
President of the United States of America
The White House
Dear President Bush:
On behalf of the Capital Area Tibetan Association, representing the Tibetan community in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia many of whom are new citizens of the United States, I would like to thank you for your personal support to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and by raising the issue of Tibet with Chinese leaders in the past.
As one of the newest immigrant communities, we are able to enjoy the freedom and rights that the United States provides to its citizens and others here. However, the situation in Tibet under Chinese rule is dire and the Tibetan people continue to be oppressed and denied their basic human rights, including the right to practice their faith in an unhindered way. Despite all the initiatives taken by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Chinese Government has not shown any similar desire to resolve the Tibetan issue. Instead, it continues to come up with unacceptable preconditions. Further, Chinese officials have not stopped their negative actions of denigrating the person of His Holiness the Dalai Lama or persecution of people for possession of his photos in Tibet.
It is the policy of the United States, as outlined in your Tibet Negotiations Report of 2005, that “The United States encourages China and the Dalai Lama to hold direct and substantive discussions aimed at resolution of differences at an early date, without preconditions.” You have also said that any lack of resolution of the Tibetan issue will be “a stumbling block to fuller political and economic engagement with the United States and other nations” by China.
Therefore, we urge you to raise with President Hu Jintao, during your April 20, 2006 meeting, the need for China to take concrete action to resolve the Tibetan problem without any preconditions. Such a visible assertion of your position will underscore the strong feelings of the American people for the unique religious, linguistic, and cultural heritage of the Tibetan people and their human rights and civil liberties.
We also wanted to take this opportunity to inform you that at the specific appeal by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, we have decided not to organize any public demonstrations during President Hu Jintao’s Washington, D.C. visit. The natural and visceral reaction of every Tibetan in the free world, particularly of those of us living in the United States, to a visit by the Chinese leader to their country of exile is to protest most vociferously. It is not an easy decision to make when one is called upon to forego this valuable “right” available to them in freedom, especially when many see this as the only available option for action.
We are doing this because we have faith in the initiatives taken by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. As your negotiations report states, “The Dalai Lama can be a constructive partner as China deals with the difficult challenges of regional and national stability. He represents the views of the vast majority of Tibetans and his moral authority helps to unite the Tibetan community inside and outside of China. China’s engagement with the Dalai Lama or his representatives to resolve problems facing Tibetans is in the interest of both the Chinese Government and the Tibetan people. At the same time, the lack of resolution of these problems leads to greater tensions inside China and will be a stumbling block to fuller political and economic engagement with the United States and other nations.”
To conclude, we urge you to call upon President Hu:
- To make a public commitment to take concrete positive action to resolve the Tibetan problem in line with the efforts being made by His Holiness the Dalai Lama;
- To remove all restrictive measures in Tibet that obstruct the Tibetan people from enjoying their rights and freedom;
- To release all Tibetan political prisoners, including the young Panchen Lama, who have been detained and imprisoned for merely voicing nonviolently their views that happen to be different from that of the Chinese Government.
Lhundup D. Amdo
Cc: Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary for Global Affairs / Special Coordinator on Tibet Policy, Department of State