Tibetan parliamentary delegation and Representative Ngodup Tsering with Congressman Jim McGovern, in Washington DC, USA, on June 19, 2019. Photo: Office of Tibet, Washington DC

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Washington, DC — A Tibetan parliamentary delegation led by Juchen Kunchok presided a parliamentary delegation in a visit to the Nation's Capitol and also met with members of the US Congress, different common society pioneers, and state division authorities.

The Tibetan delegation comprised four representatives; Juchen Kunchok Chodon, Geshe Monlam Tharchin, Lopon Thupten Gyaltsen, and Tsering Lhamo.

Accompanied by Representative Ngodup Tsering, Office of Tibet, Washington DC, the delegation's first day began with a meeting with Jim McGovern, a US congressman who has been a vocal and staunch supporter of Tibet, according to the Office of Tibet, Washington DC.

While briefing on the current situation in Tibet, the delegates highlighted the deteriorating situation in Tibet, including the severe crackdown on religious freedom, heavy restriction of movement, deprivation of opportunities for learning the Tibetan language.

Worryingly, they explained how Tibetan children are restricted in enrolling in Tibetan monasteries. They further stressed that a few years ago, there used to be Chinese law enforcement committees that oversee the monasteries, but now there are offices within the monasteries to monitor activities of the Tibetan monks and nuns.

The meetings with the US Congressman also touched upon the wave of self-immolations by 153 Tibetans in Tibet to protest China’s occupation and oppression and the disappearance of the 11th Panchen Lama for over three decades.

The uprooting of nomadic lifestyle constrained them to steal and battle for their lives. One after another, all delegates articulated the aspiration of people of Tibet and sought support for their struggle. They also urged the Congressman to pressure China in allowing His Holiness to return as aspired by almost all self-immolators.

On behalf of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, delegates expressed their deepest gratitude to him and to the US Congress and the US Administration for helping Tibet in many ways and appealed that the same be continued.

The Tibetan parliamentarian Juchen Kunchok, who led the Tibetan delegation offered him a Khata, traditional white scarf to Congressman and presented a plaque appreciating his continued support for Tibet and Tibetan people.

The US congressman told the delegation that members of the US Congress are strongly concerned about the severe crackdown of religious freedom and human rights in Tibet. Congressman McGovern also assured to extend full support. However, suggested that it is important to see through the aggressive implementation of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act and the appointment of a special coordinator for Tibetan issues as soon as possible. Both are mandatory and he doesn’t see why the special envoy hasn’t been appointed.

Congressman promised to continue to raise Tibetan issues through the Congressional-Executive Commission on China ( CECC) and advised to continue to think of new ways to raise Tibet issue. McGovern cited the recent Hong Kong protests that recently drew worldwide attention. He also mentioned his plan to organise a town hall meeting in NY, where there is the largest Tibetan population in the US, to learn about the immediate concerns of Tibetan people.

McGovern was in Tibet in 2015 with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and saw first hand how heavy-handed the Chinese authoritarian government has been to the people of Tibet. Also saw, notwithstanding, that there were many Tibetans who privately told visiting US leaders, to send for blessings to His Holiness.

The Tibetan delegates later met with the Chief of Staff and Legislative Assistant to Congressman Sensenbrenner – the Congressman could not be met due to health reasons. The Chief of the Staff started off by saying, “This will be a very easy meeting because we’re on your side”.

They also met with members of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Campaign for Tibet. At NDI, they met with the Deputy Director of Asia and her colleagues. NDI is currently assessing the Tibetan electoral system in collaboration with CTA’s SARD. NDI is an NGO that works in more than 60 countries.