Let’s Redouble Our Efforts for a Free Tibet
Speech at Human Rights Day Tibetans Rally in New York
Dear Brother and Sisters:
Tashi Delek. I’m honored and humbled to have been invited to speak here today. Thank you. Today, December 10, is Human Rights Day, a day that commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly in 1948. And it is on this date each year that the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded. In 1989, six months after the Tiananmen Massacre, the Nobel Committee bestowed the Peace Prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We honor His Holiness today as a beacon of peace, and for his commitment to nonviolence, religious harmony, human rights, and the Tibetan people. His Holiness the Dalai Lama continuously reminds us to look at what unites us as human beings, not what divides us. This is also the message that the Tibetan people keep sending to the Chinese government. I deeply appreciate the fact that, despite the historical, cultural, linguistic and ethnic differences, and despite decades of oppression, your message to the Chinese and indeed everyone in the world is still peace, tolerance, compassion, hope and courage. Despite these good-will efforts, the Chinese government ceased formal talks with the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2010, andcontinued its oppressive and cultural genocide policies in the Tibetan regions. If there is any sign of change, it is getting worse. Just two weeks ago, on November 26, a 63-year-old Tibetan monk named Tenga self-immolated in protest of the Chinese rule. He was the 151st Tibetan to self-immolate in Tibet since 2009. With the burning flames from Tibet, we should see the truth. We must continue to empower the Chinese People in ending their silence on Tibet. We should make special efforts to reach out to them, to meet them with the truth, to appeal to their conscience and to let them realize that the suffering of the Tibetan people is the suffering of the Chinese people, and that the government that brings such misery to the Tibetan people is the same government that is jailing their best citizens, robbing the land from the peasants, and controlling their right to speak and think freely. If we redouble our efforts to approach the Chinese people with tolerance, compassion and truth, and to continue to build bridges and linkages between the two peoples, the Chinese people will be an integral part of the solution, and not the problem. We must press the democratic governments to speak the truth and commit their solidarity with the people of Tibet in words and deeds. From my vantage point in Washington, D.C. I would like to encourage those who are gathered here today to contact their representatives in the House and the Senate to urge them to cosponsor two pieces of Tibet-related legislation pending in both chambers –the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act and a concurrent resolution on US policy toward Tibet, H.Con.Res.89. The Reciprocal Access to Tibet bill, introduced by Representative Jim McGovern and Senator Marco Rubio, calls for access to Tibetan areas of China for U.S. officials, journalists, and average citizen. The bill also calls for restricting access to America for those Chinese officials responsible for blocking travel to Tibet.
H.Con.Res.89, introduced by Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, urges the US government to, among many other things, make the treatment of the Tibetan people an important factor in the conduct of United States relations with the People’s Republic of China.
It’s critically important to keep the Tibet issue alive in Washington, when so many other problems and crises threaten to overwhelm it. Passage of these bills is a concrete step Congress can take to push the Administration to take action, and you can play an important role by urging your members of Congress to support these bills, among other things.
The Tibetan issue is continuing to test the morality of the entire humanity, especially, the world leaders’ commitment to human rights. The picture has not at all been rosy. Let’s continue to draw strength and inspiration from the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, “No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful the experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” Dear brothers and sisters, I draw hope from your compassion, courage and audacity. Today, in front of so many Tibetan brothers and sisters who have gathered here, as a Chinese, I would like to announcement my recommitment to the Tibetan cause. I will continue to struggle with you shoulder to shoulder on the road to a free Tibet.