We won't allow China to interfere in the Dalai Lama's succession: US legislators

Members of the US Congressional Delegation, Rep Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Rep Gregory W Meeks (D-NY), Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), His Holiness the Dalai Lama, CTA Sikyong Penpa Tsering, Rep Michael McCaul (R-TX), Rep Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep Ami Bera (D-CA), and Rep Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) together for a group photo at the conclusion of their meeting at His Holiness's residence in Dharamsala, HP, India on June 19, 2024. (Photo: OHHDL/Tenzin Choejor)

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Dharamshala — Central Tibetan Administration held a public felicitation event to honour the members of a high-level bipartisan delegation from the US Congress on Wednesday. Representative Michael McCaul said during the event, "Chinese Communist Party continues to threaten the freedom of the Tibetan people, and they have even attempted to insert themselves into the succession of the Dalai Lama, but we will not let that happen."

The bipartisan US Congressional delegation met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his residence in Dharamshala on June 19, 2024 and Representative Michael McCaul presents His Holiness with a framed copy of <<The Resolve Tibet Act >> which was recently passed by the House of Representative and waiting for President Biden to sign it into law. The bipartisan bill is to strengthen US support for Tibet and resume dialogue between the People's Republic of China and representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to find a peaceful solution to the long-standing dispute between Tibet and China.

The bipartisan Congressional delegation, led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, the delegation includes Speaker Emerita of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee Jim McGovern (D-MA), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific Ami Bera (D-CA), and Representatives Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) and Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY).

After meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, then the delegation attended a public felicitation ceremony (Central Tibetan Administration honors high level US Congressional Delegation) organised by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in the Tibetan Main Temple, Mcleod Ganj, Dharamshala, HP, India, on June 19, 2024. 

Sikyong Penpa Tsering gave a welcome speech and introduced the members of the delegation one by one and thanked them for their support for Tibet, as well as for passing the <<The Resolve Tibet Act >> by the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Congressman Michael McCaul said: "I am honoured to be here today to lead the bipartisan delegation from the U United States Congress to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Like many of you, I wish this meeting could have taken place in your country, Tibet. The Dalai Lama was forced into exile 65 years ago, after the Chinese Communist Party annexed Tibet and slaughtered tens of thousands of innocent Tibetans. For the sake of the Tibetan people and culture, and for their safety, His Holiness led more than eight thousand Tibetans into exile across the Himalayan mountains, leaving behind their homes and families, in the hope of preserving their way of life for future generations. Thanks to the kindness of the Indian government, the Tibetan people can freely practise their religion without fear or persecution. But it is still my hope that one day, the Dalai Lama and his people will return to their home in Tibet in peace".

“Decades later, the Chinese Communist Party continues to threaten the freedom of the Tibetan people, and they have even attempted to insert themselves into the succession of the Dalai Lama, but we will not let that happen”, the Representative added.

"Even after the violence enforceable removal from his homeland by the CCP, His Holiness continues to preach tolerance, peace and forgiveness. He remind us even if CCP takes your land, they cannot take away your culture they can not take away your spirit, they cannot take away with the Tibetan people mean to the rest of the world," he said.

Rep McCaul said that Chinese President Xi Jinping is saying that democracy doesn't work, but after visiting Tibetan Parliament-in-exile on June 18, 2024, he saw the democracy even works in the exile, he said, "President Xi is wrong, democracy does work, in democractic countries, people are free, but people under tyrannical country (CCP), people are enslaved". "Just this week, our delegation received a letter from the CCP, warning us not to come here (Dharamshala). They repeated their false claim that Tibet has been a part of China since the 13th century. But we did not let the CCP intimidate us, for we are here today," He told the audience.

"The Tibetan people, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the American people know that Tibet has never been a part of China, what China has falsely claimed that "Tibet has been a part of China" is not true. Tibetan people possess a distinct religious, cultural and historic identity, they (Tibetans) should say their own future, you (China) should not. That's why we are here today and defiance of that warning. Just one week after the House of Representatives and the Congress passed <<The Resolve Tibet Act>> and the bill is on the President's s desk and it will be signed it in the coming days. This bill makes it clear the United States believes Tibet has its own unique language, religion and culture and has a right to self-determination. The bill also requires State Department to aggressively challenge CCP propaganda about Tibet," the representative concluded.

Representative Gregory Meeks said, "I am here as the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs committee. I am here with a bipartisan delegation to let you all know that in the U.S. Congress, we are together, and we are paying attention, and our support for the Tibetan people is unwavering."

"Every single one of us is deeply concerned about Beijing’s growing campaign of repression against Tibetans in the PRC. We know that Beijing is separating the Tibetan Children, children that are before us, from their families through its state-run boarding school. We know that Beijing is forcibly relocating entire communities under the guise of economic development. Also, targeting and imprisoning hundreds of Tibetan Activists, writers, artists, Teachers, and clergy for simply exercising their fundamental freedoms. And we know that it is trying to cooperate and control Tibetan Buddhism, even as it restricts freedom of religion across the Tibetan autonomous region and other Tibetan areas," Rep. Meeks said.

"We all are here to call on the government of Beijing to immediately stop its countless abuses of Tibetan human rights. It’s time for Beijing to re-engage and dialogue without preconditions with His Holiness and His Representative to reach a negotiated resolution that leads to meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people. That’s why I am very proud to have worked with Representative McGovern, Chairman McCaul, and the State Department to pass the resolution that we passed promoting a resolution to the Tibet China Dispute Act, which passed both chambers of Congress last week in a bipartisan manner,“ the Representative concluded.

Representative Jim McGovern said, "Our presence here today is also a symbol, a sign to Chinese leaders that America will never ever waver in our support for the Tibetan people. Just last week, as you have heard, Congress passed a major bipartisan bill authored by myself and Chairman McCaul, and supported by every single member of our delegation. It was to reaffirm America’s support for Tibetan self-determination and to require the United States State Department to counter false information about Tibet. False information like the PRC claim that Tibet has been part of China since ancient times. That is ridiculous; it is historically inaccurate and we must correct the record."

Representative Nicole Malliotakis said, "We believe that everyone in the world, including the 6 million people in Tibet right now, deserve to live where they have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as we so proudly say in the United States of America".

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, who has championed human rights in Tibet and around the world said, "When we see in Tibet, Chinese government trying to send Tibetan children to school, educate them in the Chinese way, to reduce their knowledge of the Tibetan language, to have surveillance of everything that they do and that their families do in a way that is not respectful of their dignity and worth, we just can’t let that happen".

"With His Holiness the Dalai Lama's message of knowledge and tradition and compassion and purity of soul and love, he will live a long time, and his legacy will live forever. But to you, President of China, you will be gone, and nobody will give you credit for anything," the former Speaker said.

The public felicitation ceremony ended with a vote of thanks from Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration.