Dharamshala: His Holiness the Dalai Lama granted a virtual audience in the morning on January 13 to Mr Robert Destro, U.S. Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and U.S. Special Coordinator on Tibetan Issues. He was joined by his colleagues from the U.S. Department of State.
Following the meeting, the Special Coordinator on Tibetan Issues, Mr Robert Destro expressed unequivocally his strong opposition to Chinese interference in the religious affairs of Tibetans tweeting, “It was my great honour to speak with His Holiness the DalaiLama. I have long admired his peaceful dedication to teaching Tibetan Buddhist traditions. We reject attempts by any government to limit the freedom of religious communities to select their own leaders.”
It was my great honor to speak with His Holiness @DalaiLama. I have long admired his peaceful dedication to teaching Tibetan Buddhist traditions. We reject attempts by any government to limit the freedom of religious communities to select their own leaders. #FreedomOfReligion pic.twitter.com/58gHeGiPyv
— Assistant Secretary Robert A. Destro (@DRL_AS) January 13, 2021
Mr Robert Destro was appointed the sixth United States special coordinator on Tibetan issues in accordance with the Tibetan Policy Act on October 14.
The Office of the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues leads U.S. efforts to promote meaningful dialogue between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives on Tibetan autonomy; to protect the unique religious, cultural, and linguistic identity of Tibetans; and to press for their human rights to be respected.
The Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 signed into law recently has made it official US policy that decisions regarding the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama are exclusively within the authority of the current Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist leaders and the Tibetan people. And any interference by Chinese government officials would be met with serious sanctions and be deemed inadmissible into the United States.