Members of Congress call on China to begin negotiations with the Dalai Lama

In messages to the Tibetan people to commemorate the Tibetan National Uprising Day on March 10, 2002, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Mark Udall called on the Chinese leadership to begin negotiations with the Dalai Lama’s representatives to resolve the Tibetan problem and heighlighted the just cause of the Tibetan people and their need for international support.

The Full text of their messages follow below:

Statement of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip, on Tibetan National Uprising Day, March 10, 2002

Thank you to the International Campaign for Tibet, the Capital Area Tibetan Association, and Students for a Free Tibet Chapters from Georgetown University, George Mason University and American University for organizing today’s gathering to mark Tibetan Uprising Day. I am proud to join with Tibet’s many friends here and in the United States Congress in solidarity with the people of Tibet.

More than 50 years ago, the Chinese government invaded Tibet. That the occupation continues is a blight on the conscience of the world. Today we are once again sending a message to the world that the people of the United States have not forgotten the plight of the people of Tibet. Despite 50 years of Chinese occupation, the Tibetan people’s determination to preserve their heritage and regain their freedom is as strong as ever.

The U.S. government knows the facts. Last Monday, the U.S. State Department issued its annual Country Report on Human Rights. The report documents continuing human rights abuses by the Chinese government in Tibet. It states, in part: “According to credible reports, Chinese government authorities continued to commit serious human rights abuses in Tibet, including instances of torture, arbitrary arrest, detention without public trial, and lengthy detention of Tibetan nationalists for peacefully expressing their political or religious views.”

This tragedy must not continue. Because of our unique position in the world, the U.S. has a special opportunity and responsibility to promote the values of liberty, equality, and human rights that we hold dear. If the U.S. government is serious about helping the Tibetan people, it must promote negotiations between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the government of China. President George W. Bush raised this issue with President Jiang Zemin during his recent visit to China, and we hope he will make self-determination for Tibetans a priority in the U.S. –China relationship.

We must not, we cannot, and w will not forget that Tibetans still live under the yoke of oppression We celebrate the recent releases of Chadrel Rinpoche and Ngawang Choephel, but know that there are many more like them languishing in Chinese government prisons. Let us make the commitment today to redouble our efforts on their behalf and on behalf of all of the people of Tibet.

Thank you for your continued activism for the people of Tibet. Your actions, words and prayers will move mountains.

Statement Of Congressman Mark Udall (D-CO), on Tibetan National Uprising Day, March 10, 2002

March 10 marks a solemn occasion. It is one that reminds us all that no matter how hard pressed, there are some in the world who refuse to stand down in the face of oppression. In this regard, the Tibetan people stand as an example to the civilized world. They have survived the destruction of thousands of religious sites, the theft of their cultural treasures, and 43 years of Chinese rule.

I join with supporters in the congress and around the world in calling on the Government of China to change its destructive course in Tibet. In the Dalai Lama, the Chinese leadership could hope for not better partner in finding a lasting solution for Tibet’s future. To that end, I and some 95 Members of the House of Representatives have cosponsored the Tibetan Policy Act. We are committed to its purpose and to the Tibetan people’s struggle for freedom.

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