News and Views on Tibet

High-level US congressional delegation pledges unwavering support for Tibet

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The US Congressional delegation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Wednesday in Dharamshala (Photo/OHHDL)

By Tenzin Nyidon 

DHARAMSHALA, June 19: The Tibetan government-in-exile known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) hosted a public felicitation ceremony to honour a high-level United States congressional delegation. This esteemed delegation was led by House of Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul and included the US Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, along with Reps. Gregory W. Meeks, Jim McGovern, Ami Bera, Mariannette Miller Meeks, and Nicole Malliotakis.

The event held in Dharamshala, the capital of exile polity, reaffirmed the longstanding support of the United States for the Tibetan cause. The presence of the distinguished group of American legislators signified the continued commitment of the US Congress to human rights and democratic values, as well as their solidarity with the Tibetan people.

CTA President Penpa Tsering expressed gratitude for the delegation’s “tenacity and commitment” to push the Resolve Tibet Act. in the US Congress. President Tsering called the Resolve Tibet Act. “important” and detailed its progress through the legislative process. “I think it is a very hotline process as it moved very fast. Hotline is a process where you need unanimity of the decision by the four corners as they called it. The leaders of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Foreign Relations Committee and the House and Senate leaders need the consensus of all the leaders, not one objection from a single senator. That’s how fast it moved,” remarked President Tsering.

He then took the opportunity to thank Senator Todd Young from the Republican side and Senator Jeff Merkley from the Democrat side for advancing the bill in the Senate. He also acknowledged the significant contributions of Senator Ben Cardin, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and the Senate for their instrumental role in ensuring the bill’s swift and smooth progress. “We are now waiting for President Biden to sign this into law in the next few days,” he stated.

The Sikyong emphasised that his administration requested Congress to adopt this position to focus on polarities. He explained that when His Holiness discusses the Middle Way Policy, recognising polarities is essential, particularly political ones: the current repressive situation in Tibet and its historical status as an independent state. The Resolve Tibet Act addresses Tibet’s territory, the right to self-determination, and counters China’s false narrative about Tibet, its people, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He called the Act a “significant breakthrough,” as it provides a tool to encourage other governments to adopt similar positions, pressuring China to negotiate. “Without recognition of the polarities, the Middle Way loses its value. To add value and leverage to the Middle Way, we must achieve recognition of the polarities and the CTA is very very committed to doing that,” he remarked.

Chairman Michael McCaul reiterated his commitment to prevent China from interfering in the succession of the Dalai Lama, stating, “Decades later, 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.” He also highlighted a letter the delegation received from the Chinese government, warning them of their visit here and repeating their false claim that Tibet has been a part of China since the 13th century. “But we did not let the CCP intimidate us, and that is why we are here today. The Dalai Lama knows that Tibet is not a part of China, the people of Tibet know it is not true, and the people of the United States know it is not true.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a steadfast advocate for Tibet, addressed the legislation, emphasising the extensive manoeuvring within Congress. She described this bill as “different”, sending a clear message to the Chinese government that there is a profound clarity and understanding regarding Tibet’s issue of freedom. Pelosi also referenced the congressional delegation to Tibet that she led, alongside Representative Jim McGovern, highlighting China’s attempts to undermine Tibetan culture through language restrictions and Han migration into the region, emphasising the importance of not allowing such actions to go unchecked.

Rep. Jim McGovern, the author of the bill and a staunch supporter of Tibet, also reflected on his 2015 delegation to Lhasa, Tibet, where he personally witnessed the Chinese government’s repression, describing it as “horrible” and an experience “we will never forget.” He praised the democracy he observed in Dharamshala and the broader Tibetan community, noting, “We met with Sikyong and many officials of the CTA, and it’s a stark contrast to the Chinese leadership. Sikyong is elected, and the entire Tibetan diaspora across the globe participates in choosing their own leaders. In fact, the CTA serves as a model of governance for people facing suppression and displacement. It stands as a symbol for those living in China, showing what a different future could look like.”

He reiterated the unwavering US support for Tibet and the legislation’s commitment to countering China’s false narratives about Tibet, stating, “The PRC claims that Tibet has been a part of China since ancient times, which is ridiculous and historically incorrect. We must correct the record.”

The punchy reaffirmation of US support, many say, is a milestone in the overall international support for Tibet against the backdrop of China’s relentless attack on Tibetan people’s human rights to protect their culture, religion and way of life. In the post COVID world order, China’s ascent militarily, economically and its standing has been met with growing resistance from the international community.

One Response

  1. The Tibetan freedom movement has seen ups and downs. When I was a school boy in 1963, a young Tibetan teacher came to my class. I have no memory of what he taught but I have a vivid memory of what he said in the class. I don’t remember at what point he said it but he had a newspaper in his hand. I was too young to understand world news let alone read news papers. I was just a kid! The news paper was placed on the low table nearby where he stood and then he talked about Tibet. He stooped down and shuffled the pages of the news paper and said: “now-a -days, the news about Tibet is reported on page four”! This was as I understood it an improvement about the importance of news on Tibet. I understood that the Tibet awareness was improving from being at the back pages on to page 4 since the papers had at least a dozen pages! Every Tibetan child knew our enemy was communist Shina who stole our country. Every morning, we sang ཕྱག་ན་པདྨོའི་ཆབ་སྲིད་ཟླ་བའི་འོད་་ (the rule of the Avaleketesvara (meaning Dalai Lama) is like the cool rays of the moon). Later, we would sing the patriotic མི་མང་ལངས་གླུ་ (People’s Uprising song). This song contains the atrocities of communist Shina in Tibet and the reason why the Tibetans rose against the དགྲ་བོ་གཤན་པ་ལག་དམར་ (the enemy butcher with bloodied hands). We would thump our feet on the ground and raise our hands in a gesture that of a boxer about to throw a punch on the opponent with gusto while singing བཙན་རྒྱལ་རྒྱ་དམར་བོད་ནས་མཐའ་བཀྲོད་གཏོང་གི་ཡིན་ (we will drive the imperialist Chinese out of Tibet). Those were the days when Tibetan nationalism was inculcated by our Tibetan teachers, foster parents, ordinary road workers in young minds of every Tibetan child attending schools in India! This generation was perhaps the most anti-China generation that carried on the struggle for the last sixty years! The Tibetan news outlets like Tibetan Review played a significant role with patriotic editors like late Dawa Norbu and Tsering Wangyal. In those days, the review had little space for letter section and many letters didn’t get printed owing to lack of space. People had to write their letters and then post them to Delhi for the editor but there was no dearth of letter writers! Today, even when you can type on your screen without having to put in an envelope and stamp and put in a post box, there are very few who make the attempt to write a letter on the news emanating from occupied Tibet or in exile community on Phayul website these days! The present bipartisan RESOLVE TIBET ACT is the result of the prolonged struggle by the Tibetans for the last six decades which has been acknowledged by Tibet supporters like Richard Gere, Nancy Pelosi, Jim McGovern, Michael McCaul and many other Tibet supporters and the US Congress members of whom many have also passed away! Even though, I can’t mention all the names suffice it to say the effort of all past and present supporters of Tibet in the US Congress are responsible for acknowledging the Tibetan people’s struggle for national independence brought about this present commendable result. The Tibetan are deeply indebted to each and every US Congress men and women for standing with the benighted people of Tibet in our hour of distress and national tragedy through foreign occupation and deprivation of human dignity! Nobody should be under any illusion the enemy will never let go with Tibet until it is forced to. Britain never wanted to let go with India until it was forced and Shina is even worse. I am using Shina to mean China in response to the change of my country’s name in Chinese nomenclature which is offensive to me. Shina is an archaic name of China which the Chinese regard derogatory. We have a long, long way to go to achieve our goal.We are in the fourth generation from the time Tibetans came into exile. We can take stock of the situation by understanding the strategic nature of Tibet in the present geopolitical consideration. The US and Shina are locked in a battle to the death for supremacy. Therefore, the US will exploit the weak points in Shina’s political set up and territorial ambitions. India is the greatest loser in the occupation of Tibet by Shina because it is directly affected by the danger it poses to India’s national security and territorial vulnerabilities. It has capitulated to Shina for the last seven decades in the hope of Hindi-Chini Baha’i-Bhai fantasy. It has belatedly learnt that this was like hoping the devil to turn into a saint! As it were, India’s attitude to China has only hardened and India is showing its disenchantment by Greeting the elected President of Taiwan Lai Ching-te in his election victory! It is also getting closer to the US in its relations by being part of the Quad- a conglomeration of democracies in the Indo- Pacific region despite Shina’s show of displeasure. Since Xi has even failed to congratulate PM Modi in his election victory, the relation is more likely to nose dive since this is an insult to India! It amounts to humiliation of India by Shina! India has few options to extricate itself from two hostile nuclear armed neighbours who are hellbent to keep India destabilized, chaotic and distracted in order to contain it from rising as a global power. Besides, ever since Shina’s occupation of Tibet India has faced aggression from across Tibet on its territory which Pandit Nehru had imagined would never happen in his everlasting naivety! Shina is encroaching on Indian territory and have already occupied Aksai Hind in 1962 and parts of Galwan valley in 2019 and makes concerted efforts to seize Arunachal Pradesh. Unless, India makes concrete efforts to thwart Chinese baseless claims, what happened to Tibet and South China Sea and what’s happening to Taiwan will be repeated in future! That’s why the present US about turn about Tibet is in consonance with the exigencies in the Himalayas. There is reason to believe that it is in fact a co-ordinated effort by the US and India to pushback against Shina’s expansionist ambitions by questioning the very basis of Shina’s fabricated claims over Tibet. When you question the dubious claims of Shina over Tibet, the very basis of Shina’s claim over Indian territory becomes null and void! We may perhaps get lucky as the great powers like the US and India stand together to call out the culprit and expose its evil, might in the end salvage the extinction of the Tibetan nation as a result of great power rivalry that has both destroyed and saved nations!

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