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US official reiterates support for Tibet autonomy, including in reincarnation process

David Stilwell, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs in the US state department. (Photo courtesy: State Department)

(TibetanReview.net, Sep20’19) – David Stilwell, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs in the US state department, has made clear his government’s stand that Tibetans, like all faith communities, must be able to practice their faith freely and select their leaders without interference. Testifying at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tibet held this week, Stilwell has also reiterated the United States’s commitment to supporting meaningful autonomy for Tibetans.

He found it disturbing, and ironical, that the Communist Party of China continued to assert its role in the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation process even as President Xi had urged party members to remain ‘unyielding Marxist atheists’.

He has noted that the Party’s oppression in Tibet went back decades and that thousands of Buddhist monks and nuns had been evicted from their residences in just the past year alone.

Stilwell has also spoken about the situation in Xinjiang where “authorities are deliberately attempting to strangle Uighur culture and stamp out the Muslim faith, including by detaining more than one million ethnic and religious minorities in camps”.

Recalling Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent remark that the ongoing human rights crisis in China was ‘truly the stain of the century’, he has also referred to the ongoing Hong Kong protests and advocated for freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.

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