Tibet & China: Searching for a New Way Forward
Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on the current human rights and political situation in Tibet, and recommendations for strategies that could contribute to ensuring genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people.
On July 6, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama celebrated his 80th birthday, while also marking the fifty-sixth year that he has spent in exile from China after the Tibetan Uprising of 1959, when Tibetans in Lhasa attempted to declare independence from China. Chinese military forces crushed the uprising, causing the deaths of thousands of Tibetans. The Dalai Lama fled to northern India, followed by 80,000 of his compatriots. Since then, thousands more Tibetans have fled, primarily to India and Nepal, to escape human rights abuses by the Chinese government, which continues to oppress the Tibetans and other ethnic and religious minorities within its borders.
The U.S. government and human rights organizations, among others, have continually raised concerns about the human rights situation in Tibetan areas of China, and have called upon the Chinese government to engage in meaningful dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives, leading to a negotiated settlement on Tibet. A recent example is H. Res. 337, passed on July 8, 2015, urging the executive branch to fully implement the Tibet Policy Act of 2002, including by encouraging substantive dialogue, and to consistently raise Tibetan human rights and political and religious freedom concerns in high-level bilateral meetings with China. A Tibetan proposal for moving forward exists, the Middle Way Approach, which seeks to guarantee and deepen autonomy for Tibetans within the framework of the Chinese constitution.
Witnesses will discuss current U.S. policy on Tibet, including in the context of U.S.-China relations; reflect upon China’s treatment of the Tibetans and other ethnic and religious minorities; and examine the upcoming electoral process for the political leader of the Tibetan exile community, and the Middle Way Approach to securing genuine autonomy for Tibetans within the framework of the People’s Republic of China.
For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton (Kimberly.Stanton@mail.house.gov, 202-225-3599) or Shad Klein (Shadman.Klein@mail.house.gov, 202-225-3599) for Rep. McGovern, or Carson Middleton (Carson.Middleton@mail.house.gov, 202-225-2411) for Rep. Pitts.
Dr. Sarah Sewall, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Department of State
Ms. Sophie Richardson, China Director, Human Rights Watch
Mr. Richard Gere, Chairman of the Board, International Campaign for Tibet
Mr. Kaydor Aukatsang, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas