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us-2012-congressmenDharamshala: - Two American Congressmen, Republican Frank R Wolf, a vocal critic of China's human rights record and Democrat James P McGovern, a long-time advocate for international human rights and progressive causes, have sent a letter to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton urging her to undertake, ‘'stronger, more coordinated, visible international diplomatic steps with regards to the People's Republic of China's policies and practices towards Tibetans''.

The letter, written on August 9th, emphasized the repeated human rights violations taking place in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and in other Tibetan areas of China: Specifically, politicized trials of Monks and political activists, sharp restrictions on religious freedom and control of monasteries by ‘reeducation teams' and an increasing and very visible security presence in cities and towns.

They urged that the United States should increase, ‘' diplomatic and international pressure on the Chinese government to reverse the [ongoing] crisis in Tibet''. They particularly emphasized the Chinese authority's policy of expelling ethnic Tibetans from Lhasa, enforced in June of this year. Despite the fact that they had official permission to live there- a reference to the expulsion from Lhasa of Tibetans from eastern regions after two prominent self-immolations in the city.

The congressmen also mentioned the self-immolations currently taking place (48 in the last few years, now thought to be the largest self-immolation campaign in history), and the resultant despair of the Tibetan people, a despair which is inherent in such an act.

As a way of alleviating Tibetans suffering, bringing much needed attention to the Tibetan cause, and pressurizing China to alter its policies, they propose that the U.S. should take the lead and host an international conference on Tibet, capitalizing on Germany, Canada, and other European countries interest and concern regarding China's regime in Tibet.

In conclusion, they wrote: ‘'It is important that the U.S. demonstrate that it is not deaf to the appeals for help and support emanating from Tibetans. We urge you [secretary of state Hilary Clinton] to work with partner nations and establish a contact group on Tibet to carry out strong, visible public diplomacy on this human crisis''.

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