Actor Richard Gere and His Holiness’ special envoy appeal for U.S. congressional help for Tibet
Friday, 16 March 2007, 11:30 a.m.
|From left: Paula Dobriansky, Lodi Gyari, and Richard Gere at the House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on “Tibet: Status of the Sino-Tibetan Dialogue”|
Washington D. C: In the House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on “Tibet: Status of the Sino-Tibetan Dialogue” held on 13 March in Washington, D.C. actor Richard Gere joined His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s special envoy in appealing to Congress to help Tibet’s quest for autonomy.
Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky, the U.S. special coordinator for Tibetan issues, said, “The United States considers Tibet to be part of the People’s Republic of China. Our goals are two-fold: to promote a substantive dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama or his representatives, and to help sustain Tibet’s unique religious, linguistic, and cultural heritage.”
She said the United States worries that the talks have not produced results. Increasing negative rhetoric by the Chinese government, she told the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee, “cast doubt on the seriousness of the negotiations.”
“The Dalai Lama seeks to resolve longstanding differences with the Chinese. His position has been consistent and clear, he wants genuine autonomy for Tibet, not independence. Moreover, he can be an asset to the difficult challenge of regional and national stability. He indisputably represents the opinion of most Tibetans, and his moral authority transcends Tibetan interests.
“It is in China’s self-interest to defuse tensions in Tibet by moderating their repressive and assimilationist policies; by substantively engaging the Dalai Lama or his representatives; and by inviting the Dalai Lama to China” she added.
The Chairman Tom Lantos in his remark said that despite continued, brutal oppression by Beijing, the Tibetan people and His Holiness in exile maintain a heroic commitment to non-violence and dialogue in their fight for fundamental human rights, rights which are the birthright of all human beings.
He said, “China must meet the good faith efforts of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his envoys with good faith of its own. China states that it is a country dedicated to peace as it develops and strengthens. Proof of its ‘peaceful rise’ must first come from within its own borders.
Our own government, the U.S. government, has a moral responsibility to
promote the peaceful resolution of the problem of Tibet on terms that
are mutually acceptable to the Tibetan people and to the Chinese
In his statement, actor Richard Gere said that he strongly believe that His Holiness’ visit to China would build confidence and trust between the two parties and would certainly allay Chinese fears concerning His Holiness the Dalai Lama and what his presence in Tibet would portend. “Those of us who know His Holiness could never doubt his sincerity.
“For President Hu Jintao, this is an extraordinary opportunity to secure his position as a great modern Chinese leader, to enjoy the embrace of the rest of the world and set a precedence of trustworthiness for the solution of the far more-complex issues facing China. A creative and peaceful resolution in Tibet would surely be the foundation of the “harmonious society” President Hu so envisions”, he said.
He said that an equitable solution is in the interest of Tibet, China, Asia, America, and for the world and “an unmistakable demonstration of China’s evolution as a responsible nation and people”