(TibetanReview.net, Jun27, 2015) – A draft resolution was introduced in the US House of Representatives on Jun 24, proposing to honor Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama on his 80th birthday. It praises the 1989 Nobel Peace laureate’s efforts to advance greater understanding, tolerance, harmony and respect among religious faiths. The draft was introduced by Rep. Eliot L. Engel (NY), the top Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ), Chairman of the Asia Pacific Subcommittee, along with co-Chairmen of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Representatives Joseph Pitts (PA) and James McGovern (MA). Altogether, it has 28 original co-sponsors.
The Dalai Lama “has been a model for all of us on the importance of preserving the cultural, religious, historical, and linguistic heritage—not just for the Tibetan people but for all people,” said Rep. Engel in a press release. He further said the Dalai Lama had “done outstanding work to safeguard the environment in the Tibetan plateau, to promote democracy among the Tibetan people, and to champion non-violent conflict resolution.”
The proposed resolution expresses concern over China’s attempts “to interfere with the reincarnation process and the practice of Tibetan Buddhist religious traditions.” It also expresses concern over violations of religious freedoms, lack of access to Tibet for US diplomats, journalists, and other US citizens, and the absence of direct meetings between Chinese officials and the Dalai Lama’s representatives since Jan 2010.
Given these situations, the draft calls on the US government to strongly encourage “substantive dialogue” between the Chinese government and the representatives of the Dalai Lama, “to consistently raise Tibetan human rights and political and religious freedom concerns at the United States-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue and other high level bilateral meetings,” and “to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Tibetan political prisoners.”
The Dalai Lama is visiting Texas, California and New York from Jun 30 to Jul 11.
Earlier, a draft resolution proposing to honor the Dalai Lama on his 80th birthday was also introduced in the US Senate on Jun 11 by Senator Dianne Feinstein. She was joined by Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), as original cosponsors.