Washington DC – United States Democrats and Republicans came together on Wednesday to praise His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and pass a bipartisan resolution urging China to improve the human rights situation in Tibet.
The non-binding resolution called for substantive dialogue, without preconditions, in order to address Tibetan grievances and secure a negotiated agreement for the Tibetan people.
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, long term Tibetan supporter called the Tibetan issue a test of the United States conscience. "If freedom loving people don't speak out against repression in Tibet, then we have lost all morale authority to speak out on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world," she said.
Other Congressional leaders also called on the Chinese government to respect Tibetan culture and religion and to release all political prisoners.
Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said, "the people of Tibet are not Chinese people who have just reunited by the Communist Chinese with the motherland in China; it's been a distinct culture for centuries."
The resolution calls for the Chinese government to resume dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and, "calling for substantive dialogue, without preconditions, in order to address Tibetan grievances and secure a negotiated agreement for the Tibetan people."
The resolution also calls on the U.S. government to establish an office in Lhasa, Tibet, to monitor political, economic and cultural developments in Tibet, and to provide consular protection and citizen services.
Additionally, it urges the U.S. government to raise concerns over Tibetan human rights and political and religious freedom at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic dialogues and other high level bilateral meetings, including such the immediate release of all political prisoners.
Finally the resolution "calls on the United States Government to underscore that government interference in the Tibetan reincarnation process is a violation of the internationally recognized right to religious freedom," highlighting that the Chinese government has no right or say in the process.
The Dalai Lama and the Chinese government last held talks in 2010. The Dalai Lama has said he is optimistic that Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, who came to power in 2012, could resume the negotiations.