(TibetanReview.net, Aug21, 2016) – A total of 72 members of the US Congress have on Aug 17 called on President Barack Obama to make concrete contributions on the issue of Tibet during the remaining months of his final term in office. Led by Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), the House lawmakers have urged him to formulate “new, creative strategies to encourage meaningful dialogue, protect Tibetan rights, and preserve their unique cultural, religious and linguistic identity”.
In a letter to the President, released on Aug 17, the fellow-Democratic lawmakers have asked President Obama to “redouble efforts in support of the Tibetan people” during his remaining months in office, adding, “We believe it is critically important to move beyond words to actions.”
Pointing out that the Tibetan people viewed the United States as their friend, the House lawmakers have said, “It is time to honor that friendship with new, creative strategies to encourage meaningful dialogue, protect Tibetan rights, and preserve their unique cultural, religious and linguistic identity.”
They have urged that the US government officials to invite the Dalai Lama “to every event, on every occasion, where his knowledge and decades of reflections would be helpful for addressing the world’s problems.”
His involvement is also sought on “the global debate on climate change and its potential consequences given Tibet’s fragile environment, rapid warming, and critically important reserves of freshwater.”
The lawmakers have also reiterated the Congress’s call for the establishment of a US consular office in Tibet’s capital Lhasa “to help the US observe and address the obstacles to freedom of movement that affect both Tibetans within China, and US citizens, including Tibetan-Americans, who seek to travel to Tibetan areas of China.”
President Obama has also been urged to “publicly support the right of the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet.”
Referring to Tibetan political prisoners whose cases had been documented by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, the lawmakers have urged President Obama to “publically and regularly call for their immediate and unconditional release.”
They have also called for the enforcement of norms of reciprocity “to ensure that senior Chinese officials responsible for restricting the access of US officials, journalists, Tibetan-Americans and other citizens to Tibetan areas of China are themselves restricted in their travel when they are in the United States.”
The Democratic Representatives who joined McGovern were Eliot Engel (NY), Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Nita Lowey (NY), Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee; Betty McCollum (MN); Alan Lowenthal (CA); Ted Lieu (CA); Joyce Beatty (OH); Tim Walz (MN); Jim McDermott (WA); Michael Capuano (MA); Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC); Zoe Lofgren (CA); Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ); Richard Neal (MA); Joe Courtney (CT); David Cicilline (RI); Peter Welch (VT); Mike Thompson (CA); Loretta Sanchez (CA); Barbara Lee (CA); Lloyd Doggett (TX); Steve Cohen (TN); Dan Kildee (MI); Marcy Kaptur (OH); John Garamendi (CA); Doris Matsui (CA); Jared Polis (CO); William Keating (MA); Jose Serrano (NY); Nydia Velazquex (NY); Rosa DeLauro (CT); Louise Slaughter (NY); Chris Van Hollen (MD); Tim Ryan (OH); Luis Gutierrez (IL); Gerald Connolly (VA); Matt Cartwright (PA); Gene Green (TX); Jan Schakowsky (IL); Pedro Pierluisi (PR); Mark Takano (CA); Mark Pocan (WI); Michael Honda (CA); Steve Israel (NY); Andre Carson (IN); Peter DeFazio (OR); Sam Farr (CA); Donna Edwards (MD); Niki Tsongas (MA); John Yarmuth (KY); John Lewis (GA); Anna Eshoo (CA); Mark Desaulnier (CA); Jerry McNerney (CA); Charles Rangel (NY); Joseph Kennedy III (MA); Danny Davis (IL); Donald Beyer (VA); Bobby Rush (IL); Carolyn Maloney (NY); Keith Ellison (MN); John Larson (CT); Stephen Lynch (MA); Sander Levin (MI); Raul Grijalva (AZ); Albio Sires (NJ); Ann Kuster (NH); Jim Langevin (RI); Maxine Waters (CA); Joe Crowley (NY); Jerrold Nadler (NY); and Juan Vargas (CA).