[Senate Hearing 110-751]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
S. Hrg. 110-751
THE CRISIS IN TIBET:
FINDING A PATH TO PEACE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EAST ASIAN
AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS
APRIL 23, 2008
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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
JOSEPH R. BIDEN, Jr., Delaware, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts CHUCK HAGEL, Nebraska
RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin NORM COLEMAN, Minnesota
BARBARA BOXER, California BOB CORKER, Tennessee
BILL NELSON, Florida GEORGE V. VOINOVICH, Ohio
BARACK OBAMA, Illinois LISA MURKOWSKI, Alaska
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBERT P. CASEY, Jr., Pennsylvania DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
JIM WEBB, Virginia JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming
Antony J. Blinken, Staff Director
Kenneth A. Myers, Jr., Republican Staff Director
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EAST ASIAN
AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS
BARBARA BOXER, California, Chairman
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts LISA MURKOWSKI, Alaska
RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
BARACK OBAMA, Illinois DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
JIM WEBB, Virginia CHUCK HAGEL, Nebraska
C O N T E N T S
Boxer, Hon. Barbara, U.S. Senator From California................ 1
Cardin, Hon. Benjamin L., U.S. Senator From Maryland............. 5
Gere, Richard, President, The Gere Foundation, and Chairman of
the Board, International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), New York, NY 26
Prepared statement......................................... 30
Gyari, Lodi, Special Envoy of His Holiness The Dalai Lama,
Washington, DC................................................. 33
Prepared statement......................................... 38
Hagel, Hon. Chuck, U.S. Senator From Nebraska.................... 5
Marshall, Steve, Senior Advisor, Congressional-Executive
Commission on China, Washington, DC............................ 46
Prepared statement......................................... 48
Menendez, Hon. Robert, U.S. Senator From New Jersey.............. 4
Murkowski, Hon. Lisa, U.S. Senator From Alaska................... 3
Negroponte, Hon. John D., Deputy Secretary of State, Department
of State, Washington, DC....................................... 5
Prepared statement......................................... 7
Sangay, Lobsang, Senior Fellow, East Asian Legal Studies Program,
Harvard University Law School, Cambridge, MA................... 53
Prepared statement......................................... 54
Responses to Additional Questions Submitted for the Record by
Members of the Committee
Responses to Questions Submitted to Deputy Secretary of State
John Negroponte by Senator Richard G. Lugar................ 61
Additional Material Submitted for the Record
An Appeal to the Chinese People by the Dalai Lama............ 63
Seeking Unity Through Equality............................... 67
Tibetan Political Prisoners.................................. 77
Statement Submitted by the U.S. Commission on International
Religious Freedom.......................................... 79
Prepared Statement of Hon. Barack Obama, U.S. Senator From
THE CRISIS IN TIBET:
FINDING A PATH TO PEACE
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23, 2008
Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs,
Committee on Foreign Relations,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:35 p.m., in
room SD-419, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Barbara Boxer
(chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Senators Boxer, Feingold, Menendez, Cardin, Hagel,
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BARBARA BOXER,
U.S. SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA
Senator Boxer. The subcommittee shall come to order.
Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East
Asian and Pacific Affairs meets to examine the ongoing crisis
in Tibet and to review options for achieving a meaningful and
lasting solution to this matter.
The protests that began in Tibet on March 10, 2008, mark
the latest chapter in the Tibetan struggle against Chinese
oppression. For over half a century, the People's Republic of
China has chipped away at Tibetan culture, Tibetan religion,
and Tibetan identity.
Today, freedom of religion, expression, and assembly are
all severely restricted. Flying a Tibetan flag, or even
possessing an image of the Dalai Lama, is grounds for
punishment, including arrest.
The State Department's most recent Country Report on Human
Rights Practices details severe human rights abuses in Tibet,
including, ``torture, arbitrary arrest, and detention.''
According to the report, repression of religious freedom is on
The Government of China even ``adopted new regulations and
other measures to control the practice of Tibetan Buddhism,
including measures that require government approval to name all
The wave of largely peaceful protests that began in early
March and that turned violent as the month wore on were met
with an increase in so-called, ``patriotic education,'' by the
Chinese Government. The Chinese Government's patriotic
education campaigns require, among other things, that Buddhist
monks denounce the Dalai Lama as a separatist.
It is clear that, during the protests, both Tibetans and
Han Chinese suffered injuries and deaths, but, because the
international media was expelled from Tibet during the
protests, reports differ on the numbers and identities of those
killed and detained. Some reports indicate that up to 4,000
Tibetans, including monks, were arrested, with 1,000 expected
to face trial by Chinese authorities before May 1. Tensions
remain high, and the prospect of further violence is real.
The Chinese Government claims that the Dalai Lama
orchestrated the protests and the riots in Tibet, but the Dalai
Lama has consistently denounced violence. He has said clearly,
``I appeal to the Chinese leadership to stop using force and
address the long simmering resentment of the Tibetan people
through dialogue with the Tibetan people.'' In addition he
said, ``I also urge my fellow Tibetans not to resort to
violence.'' So, the reports that you hear, saying that the
Dalai Lama is behind the violence, don't add up, because he's
very clear when he says, ``I urge my fellow Tibetans not to
resort to violence.''
In a written appeal directly to the Chinese people on March
28, 2008, the Dalai Lama reiterated--and this is important--
that he has, ``no desire to seek Tibet's separation from
China,'' but that he seeks to, ``ensure the survival of the
Tibetan people's distinctive culture, language, and identity.''
While the eyes of the world are certainly on China as we
move toward the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, I certainly
hope, and I know I speak for others, that the Chinese
Government views the present situation as an opportunity to
move the Tibet issue forward in a way that is acceptable to all
sides. Any solution must respect the fundamental human rights
and religious freedom of the Tibetan people. In pursuit of that
settlement, the Chinese Government must engage in meaningful
dialogue with the Dalai Lama.
Today, we will hear from a number of distinguished
witnesses on how to move forward toward peace in Tibet.
On our first panel, we will hear from the Deputy Secretary
of State, John Negroponte. Prior to his current assignment, he
served as the first Director of National Intelligence.
Secretary Negroponte has also served as a U.S. Ambassador to
Iraq and as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United
On our second panel, we will hear from Mr. Richard Gere,
the president of the Gere Foundation and the chairman of the
board for the International Campaign for Tibet. Mr. Gere has
been a tireless champion for the people of Tibet, as well as
for a number of other causes. Mr. Gere will make a statement on
Tibet before introducing our third witness, Mr. Lodi Gyari. Mr.
Lodi Gyari is the Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Mr. Gyari was born in Tibet in 1949. He was forced, with his
family, to flee to India in 1959, where he began his lifelong
advocacy work on behalf of the Tibetan people. As the Special
Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mr. Gyari is the top
individual designated to negotiate with the Government of the
People's Republic of China. So, I say to my colleagues, we have
a lot of people here today who really have an ability to change
On our third panel, we will hear from Mr. Steven D.
Marshall, a senior advisor to the Congressional-Executive
Commission on China. He spent nearly two decades traveling and
researching the human rights situation in China and the Tibetan
areas of China. He has served as an expert consultant on China
and Tibetan issues for Members of Congress and the executive
And finally, we'll hear from Dr. Lobsang Sangay, a senior
fellow in the East Asian Legal Studies Program at Harvard
University Law School. After graduating from college in India,
Mr. Sangay won a Fulbright scholarship to complete his master's
degree at Harvard Law School. He subsequently went on to become
the first Tibetan to earn a doctorate degree from Harvard Law
School. For the last 13 years, much of his work has been
focused on his Track II initiative, an effort to bring together
Chinese and Tibetan scholars.
So, I certainly look forward to hearing from all our
witnesses this afternoon. And as we get through this, I hope,
in my closing statement, to put out some thoughts of my own on
how we can really move forward to find a resolution. But, I
think it's going to be good for me to wait until we hear from
everyone, because we certainly have some great experts here
And it is my pleasure now to turn to the ranking member of
the subcommittee, Senator Murkowski.
STATEMENT OF HON. LISA MURKOWSKI,
U.S. SENATOR FROM ALASKA
Senator Murkowski. Thank you, Madam Chair. I truly
appreciate your holding this hearing. Very important. Certainly
very, very timely.
I, too, look forward to the testimony from the very
distinguished panels that you have assembled, and I think that
they will be in a position to give all of us a great deal of
information, not only on this subcommittee, but, truly, to all
those who care about Tibet.
The loss of life as a result of the protests in Lhasa and
the Tibet autonomous areas, whether it's the loss of a Tibetan
monk or a Han Chinese or any other civilian, I think we would
all agree, is highly, highly regrettable.
I believe that there's a generally shared view within this
room that, just as protests on the part of the Tibetan monks
should be peaceful, the Chinese authorities must also
differentiate between peaceful protestors and rioters. The
aggressive tactics in this conflict have only served to
escalate the level of violence and inflame passions, truly,
around the world.
I do share the concern of many about the inability of the
international media and the nongovernmental organizations to
freely report on the conditions in Tibet, for without this
transparency it is--it's truly difficult to distinguish the
truth from the rumor.
I'm also very concerned about the reports of the Patriotic
Education campaign, where the Tibetan monks are forced to
denounce their culture and denounce the Dalai Lama. Perhaps the
inflammation of passions is the intentional; whether it's to
put pressure on the international community over the upcoming
Summer Olympics and to highlight the plight of the Tibetan
people and their culture, or to stoke a sense of nationalism to
solidify opinion at home. What it has not done, however, is
brought us any closer to resolving the future of Tibet. And, in
fact, it appears to have done just the opposite.
During the course of today's hearing, I'm hopeful that
we'll learn more about how the events of these past 6 weeks
have impacted the prospects for a mutually acceptable long-term
solution to Tibet's future, and what role the United States
can, and hopefully will, play in that solution. I do look
forward to hearing the testimonies of the witnesses, their
insights, and their wisdom that they can provide on this issue.
And, with that, Madam Chair, I will conclude my remarks so
that we can hear from our witnesses. And, thank you.
Senator Boxer. Thank you very much.
I'm going to call on our colleagues for 5 minutes each.
STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT MENENDEZ,
U.S. SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY
Senator Menendez. Thank you, Madam Chair. And thank you for
holding this important hearing.
You know, the recent developments in Tibet, in which
Buddhist monks and other ethnic Tibetans were violently
punished, and, in some cases, killed, for participating in
protests, are disturbing, and they should be unacceptable to
anyone who believes in basic human rights and in those freedoms
that we enjoy. And it seems to me that the United States needs
to be more than a spectator, it needs to be a strong voice of
the world. We are reminded that these recent developments in
Tibet are only the latest chapter in the long history of
Chinese human rights concerns.
And I get concerned, Madam Chair, when I hear Stephen
Hadley, the President's National Security Advisor, in his
appearance on ``This Week'' on April 13, in which he
erroneously referred to Nepal seven times when speaking about
Tibet. And I wonder, is that emblematic of the lack of focus of
this administration on Tibet? The eyes of the world are on
Tibet as China prepares for the Olympics, and we wish the
administration's eyes were so focused, as well. It has
continued to employ what it calls ``quiet diplomacy'' in that
approach, but, in my mind, that hasn't had much visible
results. Even at a time when our leverage is great, the
Olympics are approaching, that vision that the Chinese talk
about, ``One World, One Dream,'' well, it's time to put that to
a test. And when the need is even greater, with monks at risk
of starvation in locked-down monasteries, with 4,000 in
detention, with 1,000 in TAR facing trial by May the 1st, with
patriotic education sweeps continue, what tangible results can
we cite from the private-channel approach that we have seen the
administration take so far?
And lastly, Madam Chair, it seems to me that we have an
access problem, a lack of visits by independent human rights
monitors through religious institutions to evaluate the welfare
of monks and nuns; international medical corps, the medical
facilities in and around Lhasa, to evaluate the conditions of
care for those injured in the demonstrations; accounting from
the Chinese authorities for all the missing and the dead by
name and location; and assurances that detainees will be
processed according to international standards of due process
and the rule of law. The United States has a lot of
international tools at its disposal--the ICRC, the U.N.
Commission--U.N. Human Rights Commissioner, U.N. rapporteurs--
that it can call upon to improve access and avoid bilateral
obstacles. Why isn't the administration engaged in those?
So, I will cease there, because I'm looking forward to
hearing the testimony of the Assistant Secretary.
And, we will pursue those questions when the opportunity
Senator Boxer. Absolutely. Absolutely.
And I'm very pleased that so many colleagues have come,
because I know there are so many demands on their time. And I
think it speaks to the importance of this issue.
STATEMENT OF HON. CHUCK HAGEL,
U.S. SENATOR FROM NEBRASKA
Senator Hagel. Madam Chairwoman, thank you. And I will
withhold until we have an opportunity to hear our witnesses.
But, thank you and our colleague, Senator Murkowski, for
scheduling this hearing. It's important, and it cuts to the
essence of who we are as Americans, and it is a critical issue
for the world. So, thank you.
Senator Boxer. Thank you very much, Senator.
STATEMENT OF HON. BENJAMIN L. CARDIN,
U.S. SENATOR FROM MARYLAND
Senator Cardin. Madam Chairwoman, thank you very much. And
I appreciate very much your holding this hearing.
I agree with colleague Senator Menendez and his comments,
and Senator Hagel. This is a defining issue for our country.
What's happening in Tibet cannot go unchallenged. The
Chinese Government needs to be held accountable. The United
States and the international community have options to become
more effective in protecting human rights.
I have the honor of chairing the Senate Helsinki
Commission, which is well known for its record on human rights,
internationally. And I think this Nation can play a stronger
I look forward to hearing from our distinguished panelists,
and I hope that we can become more effective in standing up
against the violations of basic rights, by China or any other
Senator Boxer. Thank you very much, Senator.
And we're now going to begin with our first panel. And he's
got that panel all to himself, The Honorable John D.
Negroponte. And we'll set the clock for 10 minutes so you don't
have to rush through. And we look forward to hearing from you.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN D. NEGROPONTE, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF
STATE, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, DC
Ambassador Negroponte. Thank you very much, Chairman Boxer,
Senator Murkowski, other members of the committee. I'm pleased
to be here today to talk about the situation in Tibet. I have
submitted a longer statement for the record, and these are some
brief oral remarks.
A little over a month ago, what began as peaceful protests
in Lhasa erupted into violence and loss of lives and property,
spanning the Tibetan areas of China. We are deeply troubled by
the reports of bloodshed, arrests, and mistreatment of
protesters in and around Tibet. The administration, at all
levels, beginning with President Bush and Secretary Rice, has
called for the Chinese Government to exercise restraint, and
for all sides to refrain from violence.
We have repeatedly urged China to engage in dialogue with
the Dalai Lama directly and through his representatives. As the
President has said, ``There is no better person for Chinese
authorities to talk to than the Dalai Lama. He is the
undisputed spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, and is a man
of peace.'' The Chinese Government should seize the opportunity
to talk to the Dalai Lama, as someone who has repeatedly
stated, as you observed, Chairman Boxer, that he opposes
violence and does not seek independence for Tibet. If Beijing
does not engage with the Dalai Lama now, it will only serve to
strengthen those who advocate extreme views. Public
vilification of the Dalai Lama will not help defuse the
The United States Government recognizes Tibet as part of
the People's Republic of China, and we welcome a stable,
peaceful, and prosperous China. We engage China as a growing
economic powerhouse, as a nuclear Permanent-Five Member of the
United Nations Security Council, and an increasingly important
actor on the international scene. At the same time, we have
serious concerns about the recent events, human rights
conditions and limits on religious freedom in Tibet.
The Tibetans have legitimate grievances stemming from years
of repression and Chinese policies that have adversely impacted
their religion, culture, and livelihoods. An increasingly
influential China has the responsibility to protect and uphold
the rights of its minority groups. Furthermore, stability in
China, which is in our interest, will not be possible unless
Beijing addresses Tibetan grievances. We want to see a
confident, strong China that protects the human rights of its
citizens and acts responsibly around the world.
Accordingly, we urge the authorities in Beijing to
reexamine longstanding policies in Tibetan areas that
exacerbate tensions. We seek unfettered access to Tibet for
diplomats and journalists, and the release of those protesters
who expressed their views peacefully.
I would like to underscore that our support for human
rights in Tibet did not just start this year. We have engaged
the People's Republic of China on this issue since we
established diplomatic relations in 1979. The President's
meetings with the Dalai Lama and his attendants last fall at
the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony honoring the Dalai Lama
were strong signals of our support. We also show support for
human rights in Tibet in our everyday working-level
interactions with China. Our Office of the Special Coordinator
for Tibetan issues, established over 10 years ago, is another
example of our commitment to human rights and religious freedom
Let me now turn to the question of the Beijing Olympics.
President Bush has announced his intention to attend the
Olympics, and has made clear that he believes that it is
important to show the 1.3 billion Chinese people that we
welcome their entrance onto the international stage. The Dalai
Lama has said that he supports Beijing's hosting of the Olympic
Games, and does not support a boycott. An Olympic boycott or
sanctions could inflame tensions and polarize attitudes. Let me
assure you that this administration will continue to take the
opportunity--before, during, and after the Olympics--to urge
improvements from the Chinese on Tibet and human rights.
For Beijing and China's Tibetan populations, there is a way
forward. Through outreach and genuine dialogue, China and the
Dalai Lama can begin to bridge differences, explore the meaning
of genuine autonomy, and address longstanding grievances.
As part of our China policy, I believe that the United
States can play a constructive role by continuing to urge
substantive results-based dialogue between China and the Dalai
Lama to better the lives of Tibetans in China.
We note that there have been six rounds of talks with the
Dalai Lama's representatives since 2002, with the last held in
2007. In the end, only the Chinese Government and the Tibetans
themselves can address and resolve their differences. We look
to them to do so peacefully and in accord with international
standards of religious freedom and human rights.
Thank you for your attention. Madam Chairman, I'd be happy
to try and answer any questions that the committee may have.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Negroponte follows:]
Prepared Statement of Hon. John D. Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of
State, Department of State, Washington, DC
Chairman Boxer, Senator Murkowski, members of the committee, I am
pleased to be here today to talk about the situation in Tibet.
A little over a month ago, what began as peaceful protests in Lhasa
erupted into violence and the loss of lives and property spanning the
Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas of China. The United
States welcomes a stable, peaceful, and prosperous China, and we have a
broad agenda with that country, which is a growing economic powerhouse,
a nuclear P-5 member, and an increasingly important actor on the
international scene. At the same time, we engage China in a way that is
supportive of our political values--urging respect for human rights,
religious freedom, and democracy. The United States recognizes Tibet as
part of the People's Republic of China, but we have very serious
concerns about the recent events, human rights conditions, and limits
on religious freedom there. The United States calls upon the PRC
Government to exercise restraint in resolving the recent unrest and
urges dialogue with the Dalai Lama, but it is up to China and the
Tibetans to resolve their differences. In this testimony, I would like
to touch on the recent events in Tibet, outline our response, and
discuss next steps.
RECENT EVENTS AND THE ADMINISTRATION'S RESPONSE
To the best of our knowledge, peaceful protests began in Lhasa on
March 10, led by several hundred monks from three monasteries. Reports
that Chinese police mistreated and arrested some of the monks angered
Tibetans in Lhasa. On March 14, interaction between the protesters and
the authorities in Lhasa descended into violence, including attacks on
ethnic Han and Hui Muslim residents and their property. This violence
led to a security crackdown and widespread arrests by the Chinese
authorities. Over the next several days, protests spread to many other
Tibetan areas of China. Chinese authorities have confirmed that
security forces responded to protests in some areas with deadly force.
Accurate information about the number of people killed or injured in
the protests, riots, and subsequent crackdown and on the number of
people arrested has been difficult to ascertain. While the Chinese
Government has organized two tightly controlled trips for journalists
and one for diplomats to Tibetan areas, it continues to restrict access
to those areas, impose a virtual media blackout, and refuses access to
the detainees. Last week, China's state-run media acknowledged the
detention of approximately 4,000 individuals in Lhasa and in parts of
Gansu province. Reports of mistreatment of detainees are numerous.
We are deeply troubled by the reports of bloodshed, arrests, and
mistreatment of detainees, and share the concerns of Members of
Congress and the American people over these disturbing events. The
President and Secretary Rice have called for the Chinese Government to
exercise restraint and for all sides to refrain from violence. We urge
all Tibetans to heed the Dalai Lama's call for nonviolence as well. We
have, at all levels of the administration, urged China to engage in
substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama directly and through his
representatives. At the same time, we urge China to take a close look
at longstanding policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions
because of their impact on Tibetan religion, culture, and livelihoods,
to allow unfettered access to Tibet for diplomats and journalists, and
to release protestors who expressed their views peacefully. We are also
concerned about strident rhetorical attacks against the Dalai Lama.
Since the outbreak of protests in March, we have spoken out about
Tibet frequently and at the highest levels. The President expressed his
concern to President Hu during a March 26 phone call. Secretary Rice
has called Foreign Minister Yang and has spoken with him and publicly
about the situation numerous times. I have personally discussed the
situation with Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong and with the Dalai
Lama's Special Envoy, Lodi Gyari (LOW-dee GARE-ee), who I understand
will be testifying in a few moments. On Monday, Under Secretary for
Democracy and Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, met with the Dalai Lama
in her capacity as Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. On the other
side of the Pacific, our Embassy in Beijing, led by Ambassador Randt,
has repeatedly pressed U.S. concerns with high-level officials in the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Secretary Paulson also raised our concerns
during his most recent trip to China. While we have made heavy use of
our bilateral channels, we have also joined the European Union and
others in raising our concerns at a March 25 meeting of the United
Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Other leading members of the
international community have joined us in calling for restraint and
dialogue with the Dalai Lama.
U.S. SUPPORT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN TIBET
I'd like to underscore that our support for human rights in Tibet
did not start just this year. Our efforts with the PRC have spanned the
history of our relationship since we established diplomatic relations
in 1979. As the Secretary recently said, we show our support for human
rights in Tibet in what we do every day in our working-level
interactions with China. The President's meetings with the Dalai Lama
in both of his terms in office and his attendance at the Congressional
Gold Medal ceremony honoring the Dalai Lama last fall are important
demonstrations of support at the highest levels of the U.S. Government.
The efforts of our Office for the Special Coordinator for Tibetan
Issues, established over 10 years ago, are another tangible example of
our commitment to human rights and religious freedom for Tibetans.
The Tibetans have legitimate grievances, stemming from years of
repression and Chinese policies that have adversely impacted Tibetan
religion, culture, and livelihoods. In the months preceding the
protests, restrictions on religious freedom were further tightened,
leading to increased frustration among the local Tibetan population. In
order to be a great and respected power, China will have to make real
efforts to guarantee to its own citizens the internationally recognized
rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in China's own constitution
and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. During the
Secretary's trip to Beijing in February, the Chinese agreed to resume
our human rights dialogue. We hope to move quickly to resume the
dialogue and use the opportunity to hold substantive discussions on the
situation in Tibet at that meeting.
As the President said, there is no better person for Chinese
authorities to talk to than the Dalai Lama since he is the undisputed
spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He is also a man of peace. The
Chinese Government should seize the opportunity to talk to those
Tibetans, represented by the Dalai Lama, who oppose violence and do not
seek independence for Tibet. If Beijing does not engage with the Dalai
Lama now, it will only serve to strengthen those who advocate extreme
views. An increasingly influential China has the responsibility to
protect and uphold the rights of, and respect for, minority groups like
Tibetans. Stability in China is also in our interest. We want to see a
confident, strong China that protects the human rights of its citizens
and acts responsibly around the world. Stability will not be possible
unless Beijing addresses the grievances of the Tibetans and works
together with them to preserve their culture, language, and religious
TIBET AND THE OLYMPICS
The Dalai Lama has said that he supports Beijing's hosting of the
Olympic Games and does not support a boycott. President Bush has
announced his intention to attend the Olympic Games in Beijing and has
made clear that he believes that it is important to show the Chinese
people that we welcome their entrance onto the international stage. As
our Secretary said recently, these Olympics are not just a moment of
pride for the Chinese Government but also for 1.3 billion Chinese
citizens. Calls for an Olympics boycott or sanctions could polarize
attitudes on both sides.
While, for these reasons, the U.S. Government wants to see a
successful Olympics and does not support calls for an Olympics boycott,
we recognize that some have a different view about a boycott. This
position reflects real concerns, widely held in the United States and
elsewhere, over China's human rights record. Let me assure you that
this administration will continue to take the opportunity before,
during, and after the Olympics to talk to the Chinese about Tibet and
human rights. We continue to urge China to fulfill its Olympics bid
commitments to increase access to information and expand freedom of the
press, including in Tibetan areas, as well as take other steps to
improve its record on human rights and religious freedom.
THE WAY FORWARD
Our policy toward China aims to shape the choices that Chinese
leaders make about how to use their growing power. We use our bilateral
discussions, as the President has noted, to make our concerns clear to
Chinese officials and to encourage China to be a responsible actor at
home and around the world. For the Chinese Government and the Tibetan
people of China, there is a way forward. Through outreach and genuine
dialogue, China and the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the vast
majority of Tibetans, can begin to bridge differences, explore the
meaning of genuine autonomy and address longstanding grievances. As
part of our China policy, I believe that the United States can play a
constructive role in continuing to urge substantive, results-based
dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama to better the lives of
Tibetans in China. We note that there have been six rounds of talks
with the Dalai Lama's representatives since 2002, with the last held in
2007. In the end, only the Chinese Government and the Tibetans
themselves can address and resolve their differences. We look to them
to do so peacefully and in accord with international standards of
religious freedom and human rights.
Senator Boxer. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.
I think each of us will have 7 minutes, and we'll go back
to a second round, if we need to.
Secretary Negroponte, on April 2, 26 of my Senate
colleagues joined me in sending a letter to Chinese President
Hu Jintao about the situation in Tibet, and our letter called
on the Government of China to do three things: First, to allow
independent monitors and the foreign press unfettered access to
the region; second, to release of those Tibetans detained for a
peaceful protest; and, third, to engage in substantive dialogue
with the Dalai Lama to restore stability and bring genuine
autonomy to the region.
Now, I was pleased to see that Undersecretary of State
Dobriansky echoed those three requests in an op-ed that
appeared earlier this week in the Washington Post.
Now, Mr. Secretary, in your opening statement, you detail
the high-level discussions that have taken place between United
States and Chinese officials on Tibet, but you didn't mention
whether these high-level discussions have yielded any tangible
results on these three matters: Allowing independent monitors
and foreign press unfettered access, releasing Tibetans
detained for peaceful protests, and engaging in substantive
dialogue with the Dalai Lama to restore stability, et cetera.
So, I guess my question is: Have these talks yielded any
Ambassador Negroponte. What I would say in response, Madam
Chairman, is, yes, as I mentioned, we have made demarches at
various levels, from the President on down. The President, the
Secretary of State, myself, Ms. Dobriansky, our Ambassador, of
course, on a very regular basis. But, I think that the results,
thus far, I regret to report to you, have been minimal, at
best. I would say, in one area, we pressed, very early on
during this situation, for access by our consular officials who
are stationed in the province adjacent to the Tibetan
Autonomous Region, for access to Tibet, and that was--has not
yet been granted. There was one group of diplomats, including
an American embassy diplomatic official, who was given a guided
tour of Lhasa at a fairly late stage in this situation. But,
I'd say that, thus far, none of the requests and suggestions
that we have made have been significantly addressed by the
Beijing authorities. But, I have no doubt that they are aware,
and vividly aware, of what it is that we are advocating.
Senator Boxer. Well, I mean, it's discouraging. I know that
you're discouraged that, so far, we haven't seen anything bear
fruit. And that's one of the reasons, frankly, that I wanted to
have this hearing. I'm hoping to push hard here, in our way, in
each of our ways, to, maybe make some progress.
Now, in 2002, President Bush signed the Tibetan Policy Act.
That law states that the Secretary of State, ``should make best
efforts to establish an office in Lhasa, Tibet, to monitor,
political, economic, and cultural developments in Tibet.'' Now,
I understand that such an office has not been established, and
the United States monitors events in Tibet from our consulate
in Chengdu, which is more than 750 miles away from the Tibetan
capital of Lhasa. Do you agree that the United States should
have a permanent diplomatic presence in Lhasa?
Ambassador Negroponte. The answer--the short answer to that
is yes. We establish consulates in our respective countries,
China and the United States, on a basis of reciprocity, and we
each have given each other lists of cities in which we would
like to establish consulates. And Lhasa is one of those cities
listed in our list for--request for establishing a consular
office. But, up until now, we have not been able to achieve
that. In other words, it depends on the reciprocal consent of
the Chinese Government. But, it is a priority for us to
establish a consulate; and, were the Chinese Government to
grant us permission to establish such a consulate in Lhasa, I'm
confident that we could establish such an office in very short
Senator Boxer. OK. Now, is Lhasa the first on that list of
Ambassador Negroponte. It is.
Senator Boxer [continuing]. Of all of the cities?
Ambassador Negroponte. Well, we have six or seven on the
list, and Lhasa is not the first, but I think that, in today's
context and given the events that have happened, if the
authorities in Tibet were to say that we were welcome to
establish a consulate in Lhasa, I think we would promptly do
Senator Boxer. Well, that's not my question. I think, if
this is truly a priority, and you don't need to answer this,
but I think we all know--all of us sitting here--that when we
have requests to make, the priority of those requests are
always very important. And, given what has happened in the
Tibetan region, I would hope you might go back and rejiggle
these cities and put Lhasa at the top. I hope you consider
speaking with Secretary Rice about that.
Ambassador Negroponte. I think that's a very fair
Senator Boxer. Thank you. Thank you.
Let me ask you this. Do you, and I don't mean to put you on
the spot on this, but you're a diplomat, and you'll figure out
how to answer it. [Laughter.]
I know you have so much experience, because I've met with
you over the years, but what I'm waiting for is an extremely
strong and clear statement from the President on this issue,
one that basically says, ``I stand by the Dalai Lama. The Dalai
Lama does not want, you know, to have a separate--is not a
separatist, he wants to resolve this peacefully.'' And I'm--
because the President is going to the opening ceremonies and--I
think--when I was asked about it, I just said, ``Look, this is
something that he could decide, but it doesn't''--because the--
I feel bad for the athletes who have trained and all of that,
so I understand all that, and I'm not being critical at all.
But, what I think is important to do something. For example,
make this strong statement, and also go to the Tibetan region.
So, my question to you is: As a diplomat, do you think it's
possible that the President would consider making a clear, very
strong and unequivocal statement, that he stands with the Dalai
Lama and that his intention is, yes, to go to the Olympics, but
also to go and visit the Tibetan region? Is that a possibility?
Ambassador Negroponte. Well, let me answer it this way. The
President, not only figuratively, but literally, has stood with
the Dalai Lama. And you, perhaps, were at that ceremony, where
he conferred the Congressional Gold Medal on the Dalai Lama.
And that was a very strong statement, and one that was taken
and done over the fairly vigorous objections of the Chinese
authorities, but the President persisted and insisted on doing
that. So, I don't think there's any doubt where the President
stands on the issue of the Dalai Lama and human rights in
Tibet. And, frankly, I can hardly think of a stronger advocate
of human rights in our Government than the President of the
United States. So, we're going to----
Senator Boxer. So, do you think he would consider, or would
you talk to him about, you know, visiting the Tibetan region?
Because if he goes to China for the Olympics, it seems to me
that could show a balance, that he's going to the Olympics for
the athletes, but he wants to make a statement, and he's going
to go to the Tibetan region. Any chance of that, that you'd
support that recommendation?
Ambassador Negroponte. I will certainly convey that
suggestion, but I would not want to give you any prediction----
Senator Boxer. OK. But, I hope you'll consider it----
Ambassador Negroponte [continuing]. As to what the
likelihood there might be, right.
Senator Boxer [continuing]. Because I think it would very
important--yes, he did stand with the Dalai Lama, as did we
all, but this is different because of the Olympics and because
some world leaders are not going, et cetera, et cetera. I think
his going to the Tibetan region, either before or after, would
be very important.
Well, I'll stop----
Ambassador Negroponte. But, I just want to make one more
Senator Boxer. Yes.
Ambassador Negroponte. Madam Chairman, I do think it's
important to make, and I should have made it right at the
outset. The President also believes it is very important, given
the relationship we have with China and the different equities
at stake, including human rights in China, that he have good
relationships with the top Chinese leaders, so that he can
engage them on these and many other delicate issues. So, I
don't think he wants, while totally supportive of human rights
in China, he also wants to maintain the kind of relationship
with Chinese authorities that permits him to get his message
effectively across, and to not burn his bridges with the top
Senator Boxer. Well, I don't think I've suggested that. I
Ambassador Negroponte. No, I don't think you have.
Senator Boxer [continuing]. Anybody has suggested it. And I
can tell you this, when you really do have friends, you've got
to tell them when you think they're wrong. Otherwise, it isn't
a friendship. It's not really a friendship.
OK. Senator Murkowski.
Senator Murkowski. Thank you, Madam Chair.
I want to continue this discussion about the dialogue. And
you have said, Mr. Secretary, that--repeatedly--that the key is
with the dialogue. And Paula Dobriansky, in her op-ed that the
chairman mentioned, says, ``Meaningful dialogue presents the
only viable way forward.'' And yet, I think all have expressed
the level of frustration that the dialogue continues, and you
have multiple rounds of talks, and we're really not seeing that
positive action, we're not seeing the good results, or, really,
results at all, coming forward.
You've also just indicated, then, that sanctions, at least
as they might fit in with the Olympics, would only serve to
inflame the tensions, and that is not the route to take. Well,
if we're not making progress on dialogue, and sanctions are not
the route to take because they only serve, further, to inflame
tensions, what can we do more?
Ambassador Negroponte. We haven't made progress--or, they
have not made progress on dialogue, although, as you know,
there have been discussions, in fits and starts over the past
years, since 2002, there have been seven sessions. There was
dialogue previously, during the previous 20 years, ever since
Deng Xiaoping, there have been sporadic efforts at coming to
some kind of an understanding. So, I don't think we should rule
out the possibility--indeed, we shouldn't lose hope that that
kind of dialogue cannot be resumed at some point, and hopefully
sooner rather than later.
There's also dialogue with our interlocutors in Beijing,
and I think we have to keep bringing to their attention the
concerns that we have about this situation. And I would have
thought, given the outpouring of reaction that there's been to
the Olympics and some of the protests that have taken place in
Europe and elsewhere, that they must be very mindful of the
issues that this is creating for China's image. And I would
have thought that they have an interest in thinking hard about
what they can do, through a process of dialogue and other
peaceful means, to work their way out of the very difficult and
unsatisfactory situation in which they find themselves at the
Senator Murkowski. Well, and that was going to be one of my
question, too, is, If you--you've recognized that it really is
between Tibet and China, they are the ones who must resolve
this issue. We can offer our input and help to facilitate, but,
you know, sometimes maybe we're not the best facilitator, or
the best one to carry the message, so you look to others who
can put that pressure. And, as you mentioned, the protests in
Europe, the--yesterday--I guess it was yesterday--in response
to demonstrations in China and the boycotts of the French
companies, France sent three high-level diplomats to China to
soothe the tensions over there, which makes you wonder whether
China is essentially prepared now to use its economic clout to
influence the international pressure on the subject of Tibet,
or even Taiwan, a completely different subject from today's
hearing. But, it does make you wonder, How can we further
attempt to influence China, when they don't appear to be
Ambassador Negroponte. Well, I guess----
Senator Murkowski. It's not a word, but----
Ambassador Negroponte. No----
Senator Murdowski [continuing]. You know my point, here.
Ambassador Negroponte. I certainly do. And I think it's
hard, although I think that any country, China or any other
country, in the world--cares about its international image.
But, I think, more fundamentally, and as I said in my opening
statement, they care about their own stability and the harmony
of their own society. After all, Hu Jintao wants to create a
harmonious society. Well, they've got some signs of fairly
serious disharmony, if that's a word, in Tibet and in the
Tibetan-populated adjacent to the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
So, I think they've got to be encouraged to see their way
through this situation, and see their way to a point where they
would realize and appreciate, I hope, that their own best
interests are probably served by some kind of a dialogue about
meaningful autonomy and some kind of a peaceful resolution of
the Tibetan situation that is respectful of Tibetan human
rights and their religion within the context of Chinese
sovereignty. No one here is suggesting Tibetan independence.
Senator Murkowski. Have we made any progress--you mentioned
that, apparently, at least one guided tour was provided to a
diplomat. In terms of the access that we have requested be
given to diplomats and to journalists, is there anything there,
that we can point to, where there has been a little bit of
Ambassador Negroponte. I believe there's been a bit more
access given to journalists. I have just been told that there
were three tours for journalists.
Senator Murkowski. In recent months, then, or----
Ambassador Negroponte. Since this crisis erupted.
Senator Murkowski. Yes.
Ambassador Negroponte. So, that's to the good. I believe
there's been a bit of a reduction in the profile of the
security forces, in terms of the display of the army and so
forth. And I think there probably are some measures that, if
they were able to take, I think would perhaps help defuse this
situation, such as lowering the security profile and taking a
number of measures that wouldn't be tantamount to offering
independence or anything else.
Senator Murkowski. And we have encouraged or suggested that
they do just that?
Ambassador Negroponte. Well, I certainly would encourage
the Chinese to do them. I mean, keeping the Liberation Army's
profile low, try to equip their police with less intimidating
uniforms and gear, things like that. Certainly the more serious
problems have to do with the Beijing authorities' attempts to
manage the religious affairs of the Tibetan people, which I
think goes to the heart of the cultural questions at issue
here. And also to stop, and Paula Dobriansky mentioned this in
her op-ed piece, the vitriolic campaign against the Dalai Lama,
who, after all, does not advocate independence, does not
advocate boycotting the Olympic Games, and I said in my
remarks, we believe is a man of peace.
Senator Murkowski. Thank you. My time is expired.
Senator Boxer. Thank you, Senator.
Senator Feingold. Thank you, Madam Chairman, for holding
this timely and important hearing.
Thank you, also, to the witnesses who come before this
committee to provide us with your assessment of the situation
Over the past few weeks, the waves of protests throughout
Tibet have been met with brutal violence and an equally brutal
crackdown. These tactics are a clear reminder of the injustices
inflicted on the Tibetan people and the political and cultural
and religious oppression that continues there. After almost 30
years, it is long past time for the Chinese Government to end
these abuses and engage in meaningful dialogue with the Tibetan
people, so I look forward to hearing more responses from Deputy
Secretary Negroponte with regard to what actions the
administration is taking to make clear to--this clear to the
The United States Government must use every available
opportunity to engage China on its human rights record and its
responsibilities as a key member of the international
community. We cannot treat human rights as a side issue while
we focus on trade or other pressing matters. And we cannot give
China a pass, simply because of its power and importance. China
is a great power, but it is not yet a good power. I hope this
and future administrations, as well, will recognize that
supporting human rights in China in and around the world is in
our country's interests and consistent with our country's
Mr. Negroponte, can you clarify what kinds of leverage the
United States Government has with China when it comes to
encouraging them to engage in direct dialogue with the Tibetan
leaders? And have any new points of leverage emerged since the
outbreak of the protests?
Ambassador Negroponte. Well, I think that the most
effective leverage, if one could call it that, Senator, is
engagement with the authorities in Beijing, and to call to
their attention the concerns we have about this situation. In
other terms, I think there are those who might advocate some
kind of sanctions or a boycott of the Olympics and so forth,
and, in our view, we think that that kind of behavior would
seriously risk being counterproductive and would not advance us
towards our objective. So, I think it's through intense
Senator Feingold. Well, I understand, when Secretary
Paulson was in China to discuss trade issues as a part of a
routine economic exchange between the two nations, he agreed to
raise concerns with--or, about Tibet. Can you elaborate on what
is meant by ``raising concerns'' in this context? Has the
administration conveyed concerns about the crackdown in Tibet
directly to the Chinese Government?
Ambassador Negroponte. We certainly have. I cannot replay
for you here the exact words of Secretary Paulson's
conversation, but as I mentioned earlier, even President Bush
has raised our concerns about Tibet with President Hu Jintao.
Secretary Rice has. I have, when I deal with my counterpart,
the Executive Vice Foreign Minister of China. And what we
basically say is, ``We're concerned about what we believe to be
the abuse of the human rights and the religious rights and
cultural freedoms of the Tibetan people, and we believe that
you need to, you should, take measures to address this question
through meaningful dialogue with Tibetan representatives.''
Senator Feingold. Given that India is host to the largest
number of Tibetan exiles, what role do you see India playing
with regards to Tibet and, specifically, in any dialogue, and
how is the United States engaging with India on this point?
Ambassador Negroponte. I think I'd have to take that
question, Senator. It's a very good question, and I suspect
that there have been discussions. I just cannot recall them at
this particular moment.
Senator Feingold. If you could get that to me later, I'd
appreciate it, Mr. Negroponte.
Ambassador Negroponte. Yes.
[Ambassador Negroponte's response follows:]
India has hosted over 100,000 Tibetan refugees, the largest
population outside China, since 1959, when the Dalai Lama and others
fled China. The Indian Government provided many of the Tibetans who
entered India before 1986 with registration certificates and residence
permits, which could enable them to rent homes, operate businesses,
conduct financial transactions, and travel internationally. Since 1986,
Tibetans have continued to enter India; after they receive an audience
with the Dalai Lama they are often placed in various educational,
vocational and religious institutions throughout the country. Tibetans
regularly tell U.S. Government officials that the Indian Government
treats them very well.
Since 1991, the U.S. has funded reception centers and education,
water, and health care programs for Tibetan refugees in India. Last
year, for example, we provided $2.5 million to the Tibetan Refugee
Reception Centers in Delhi, Dharamsala, and Kathmandu (Nepal) which
provide food, accommodation, clothing and transportation fare to newly
arrived refugees from Tibet. The Indian Government has been receptive
to U.S. offers of assistance to Tibetan refugees.
We are involved in quiet discussions with the Indian Government on
the possible resettlement of some Tibetan refugees in the United
States. U.S. officials at all levels regularly meet with both Indian
Government officials and Tibetan exile leaders to confer about the
situation in the region and to emphasize the U.S. position that China
should engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama and address
policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions due to their
impact on Tibetan religion, culture, and livelihoods. The Under
Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky was in
India on April 23 and 24 for meetings with the Indian Government, where
a number of issues surrounding Tibet were discussed.
Sensitivities in the India-China relationship, resulting in part
from a longstanding border dispute and competition for regional
influence, have limited India's ability to facilitate dialogue between
the Chinese Government and the Dalai Lama and his representatives.
However, the Indian Government and its people have appealed to both the
Chinese Government and the Dalai Lama and his representatives to
resolve their differences through such a dialogue.
Senator Feingold. I note in your testimony that you
discussed United States support for human rights in Tibet since
1979, and that, while a consular office does not exist in
Lhasa, that you do, in your testimony, highlight the Office of
the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. How does this
office coordinate with you on China policy, the Embassy in
China, and other United States agencies?
Ambassador Negroponte. Well, the coordinator for Tibet
happens also to be the Undersecretary for Global Affairs, Ms.
Paula Dobriansky, and we coordinate with each other directly.
We consult on these matters. And Ms. Dobriansky has the lead on
issues with regard to Tibet. And we work together in trying to
implement the various policies that she advocates and for which
she's responsible. And she also relates, as well, to our
Ambassador in Beijing on these issues. She maintains contact,
of course, with the Tibetan community, including one of our
panelists today, Mr. Lodi Gyari, and plays quite an active role
in the issue of seeking to protect and advance the rights of
the Tibetan people.
Senator Feingold. I'm also concerned about the arrest of
those, by the Chinese Government, during the protests. Could
you briefly discuss if the U.S. Government is aware of their
locations and how they are being treated?
Ambassador Negroponte. Well, the reports that we've had is
that there have been many instances of mistreatment, but, as
far as locations and the particulars of these instances, I
would have to get that back to you for the record.
[Ambassador Negroponte's response follows:]
In an April 10 report, the Congressional-Executive Commission on
China cited an official Chinese report stating that over 4,400 persons
had either surrendered voluntarily to authorities for engaging in
``beating, smashing, looting, and burning'' during riots, or had been
detained on suspicion of engaging in such activities. Many of the
individuals who surrendered voluntarily were subsequently released by
authorities; however, Tibetan exile groups estimate that about 3,000
remain in custody. We have repeatedly asked for unfettered access to
the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas of China so
that, among other things, U.S. diplomats could observe judicial
proceedings against Tibetans charged in connection with recent events
in Tibetan areas. Since the Chinese Government has denied such
requests, we have not been able to independently confirm these numbers.
As was widely reported in the international press last week, the
Lhasa Intermediate People's Court has issued sentences ranging from
three years to life in prison to 30 Tibetans for their alleged
participation in violent acts during the protests. We are concerned
about reports that these individuals were not afforded basic
protections of due process. We were particularly disturbed that
criminal defense lawyers who volunteered to represent the detainees
were denied permission to do so.
Through our bilateral channels, the United States has raised,
repeatedly and at the highest levels, our serious concerns regarding
the status and treatment of those detained and arrested for their
alleged participation in the protests. President Bush and Secretary
Rice have spoken to their Chinese counterparts to urge restraint and
the release of protesters who expressed their views peacefully.
Ambassador Clark T. Randt at our Embassy in Beijing has raised the
issue repeatedly with high-level officials in the Chinese Government.
Officers from our Embassy and our consulate General in Chengdu have
repeatedly pressed Chinese officials at all levels for information
regarding detainees, for unfettered access to the TAR and other
affected areas, and for information on individual cases. to date, we
have not received a positive response to our requests.
We have called on the Chinese Government to ensure that all legal
and administrative proceeding against persons alleged to have
participated in violent acts during the recent protest throughout
Tibetan areas of China are conducted in a manner that is both
transparent and consistent with Chinese law and international human
rights norms. We will continue to raise these concerns with our Chinese
interlocutors, including as part of our upcoming bilateral human rights
dialogue with China.
Senator Feingold. Is it something we're working on?
Ambassador Negroponte. It certainly is, and it's certainly
a concern that we raise.
Senator Feingold. And what----
Ambassador Negroponte. But with limited access.
Senator Feingold. Yes.
Ambassador Negroponte [continuing]. I think it becomes a
bit of a problem, and it's one of the reasons we would like to
be able to have direct access to the Tibetan Autonomous Region
for our people.
Senator Feingold. Well, I'd--if--after this, if you could
tell me what, specifically, we're doing to try to----
Ambassador Negroponte. Right.
Senator Feingold [continuing]. Get that done, I'd
I thank you for your testimony.
Thank the Chair.
Senator Boxer. Thank you.
Senator Menendez. Thank you, Madam Chairlady.
And, Mr. Secretary, it's good to see you again.
Ambassador Negroponte. Thank you.
Senator Menendez [continuing]. I have a great respect for
you, been happy to have supported your nomination. We've worked
on several things. But, I must say, when the Chair talked about
your diplomatic ability to answer, it is being fulfilled richly
I appreciate that you've said a lot, but I haven't heard
very much, and maybe that's the way it's going to be for the
rest of the hearing. But, let me just ask you, what--I think
Senator Murkowski was trying to get at this--what are the other
policy options? If there are none, there are none. Let us know.
But, what are the other policy options, what are the other
levers, beyond this quiet diplomacy that is going on, that can
be pursued, and that should be pursued? Because, I have to be
honest with you, several decades after this quiet diplomacy
that has been going on through various administrations,
Democrat and Republicans alike, it seems to me that what we
have is a string--a history of human rights violations, forced
abortions, prison-camp labor, child labor, Tibetan ethnic
cleansing, the exiling of the Dalai Lama, a support for a
Sudanese Government that continues to pursue genocide in the
Darfur region of the Sudan, a huge trade deficit that fuels the
Chinese military industrial complex, and a country that largely
owns our debt and constricts, I think, sometimes, some of our
policy pursuits. So, from my perspective, this quiet
engagement, this is the record, at least one perspective of the
record, so give us some policy options here, if there are any,
beyond this quiet diplomacy.
Ambassador Negroponte. I think I was fairly forthright with
the chairman when she asked me, ``Are these efforts that we're
making, thus far, having any effect with respect to the
situation in Tibet?'' and I said I didn't think they had any
particular effect, as yet, although I would like to hope that
that situation can improve.
You asked me what other levers do we have, what else can we
do. As I said, I think the dilemma is that whenever one looks
at using, or the possibility of using, various kinds of levers
of influence, one has to do that in the context of, first of
all, whether one thinks it would be effective with respect to
the particular situation at hand, and the other is, one has to
look at it in the context of the overall relationship.
One encouraging piece of news, Senator, is that the Chinese
Government has agreed to resume a human rights dialogue,
bilateral human rights dialogue with us, which was suspended
more than a year ago, and that we had been asking them to
resume. And they have finally agreed to do that. They did that
in the last several weeks. And we will be scheduling such a
meeting in the month of May.
Senator Menendez. Well, we're glad to hear we're going to
resume a dialogue that was suspended by the Chinese. That's
good. But, let me get to something more concrete.
The reality is that we talk about the Olympics, which, in
my mind, is the premier moment. And I agree the Olympics should
not be boycotted, but there is a difference between boycotting
the Olympics, which means not going to it, and having the
President of the United States not go to the opening ceremony,
which I think is a powerful message to the Chinese, but falls
far short--our athletes will be able to go, the President may
go to other events after that. But, the world will be watching
at the opening, and it seems to me that the Olympic fundamental
principles of Olympism, which are incorporated in the Olympic
Charter, says the following, ``The goal of Olympism is to play
sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with
the view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the
preservation of human dignity.'' And it further goes on to say,
as part of the charter's fundamental principles, ``Any form of
discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds
of race, religions, politics, gender, otherwise is incompatible
with belonging to the Olympic movement.'' Why not stand with
the fundamental principles of Olympian--of Olympism and the
Ambassador Negroponte. Well, I mean, obviously, we
subscribe to those principles.
Senator Menendez. And why not, then, go to the opening
ceremony, as a commitment to those principles?
Ambassador Negroponte. No, I understand your question. What
I would say in reply is that the President has been invited to
attend the Olympics in Beijing, he has said he would attend,
and he has not made any change to those plans. But, as far as
the situation in Tibet is concerned, there's going to be an
issue after the Olympics, as well.
Senator Menendez. Well, I agree, but one of your major
levers will have been lost, and you haven't described any
levers to me, before, that have seemed to produce any great
Let me, finally, ask you--in 2007, Congress appropriated
over $4 million for programs in Tibet. And as the ranking--as
the chairperson of the subcommittee on all of our foreign
assistance, I'm interested--it included public health,
education, sustainable development, environmental conservation,
preserving cultural traditions, and protecting human rights. It
requires that United States representatives to international
financial institutions support projects in Tibet, only if they
do not encourage the migration and settlement of non-Tibetans
into Tibet or the transfer of Tibetan-owned properties. How
effective have these programs been in achieving their goals?
And what further measures can Congress take to--in terms of
this type of foreign assistance--to achieve the efforts that we
want in Tibet?
Ambassador Negroponte. Apparently, Senator, since 1997, the
United States Government has provided approximately $25 million
in assistance to support ethnic Tibetan communities in China.
These programs began as exchange programs through the old
United States Information Agency, and have now expanded into
community development programs managed by USAID. We also
provide support to Tibetan-language broadcasting to China by
Radio Free Asia and the Voice of America, and apparently we are
planning to increase that level of broadcasting by about 30
percent, and we're also providing humanitarian assistance to
newly arrived Tibetan refugees in Nepal and India, in
cooperation with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
I think these are important programs, particularly, the
broadcasting. I think the concern that we are able to show for
the plight of the Tibetans through those broadcasts is
important. But, clearly, none of these measures are as
important as the fundamental improvement that could take place
if there were a real, meaningful dialogue between the Chinese
authorities and the people of Tibet.
Senator Menendez. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Senator Boxer. Thanks.
I'm going to give everyone an extra 5 minutes for a second
And I will start off by saying, I think what you're sensing
here is a bit of frustration that, you know, there doesn't seem
to be an action agenda here. There seems to be goodwill and
caring and compassion, but there is frustration----
I thought you left, Senator, but I will--I will finish my
sentence and then--no, I'm going to yield to you.
So, that's the context in which I'm going to ask my second
round. So, you can think about that.
And now I'll call on--no, no, Senator, please. You have a
7-minute round. Yes.
Senator Cardin. Thank you, Madam Chair. I was in the outer
room with an appointment. I apologize for that. And I apologize
for the disruption.
Secretary Negroponte, you know from our prior discussions I
have the utmost confidence in your diplomatic skills and your
service to our country, but I must tell you, I disagree with
the strategies that this administration and previous
administrations have used in regards to China.
We were told that if we engaged China, we will be more
successful in the policies that we are trying to implement. So,
we engaged China on trade, and they don't enforce our
intellectual property rights. They subsidize, they manipulate
currency, and they get all the advantages of the U.S. market.
We have a huge deficit today with China as a result of it. We
are told that dialogue will bring about change. And it hasn't
brought about change.
We're then told that, by dialogue, we can change the human
rights records of that country. That was one of the main
reasons, one of the main justifications given for normalizing
trade relations with China. We find that the press is not free,
the rights of dissent are not there. We are told that dialogue
will make a difference, and it hasn't.
Now, in Tibet, we're told, once again, that dialogue is the
right course. In the meantime, the Chinese Government, as you
point out, is manipulating the press to the point that the
public within China supports many of the oppressive policies
that the Chinese Government is using. This makes it even more
difficult for us to see the types of changes in China that we
would like to see.
So, I must tell you, I have a hard time understanding this
administration's policy as it relates to China. I want to be at
the table with China. I want the dialogue to continue with
China. I don't want to cut off relations with China. But, I
think China today feels that they can do pretty much whatever
they want to, that they have more leverage against us than we
have against them. Therefore, the likelihood of them changing
their course because of pressure put on by our country is
minimal, because they don't believe we'll do anything.
Now, tell me where I'm wrong. Because I hope I am wrong. I
must tell you, I am deeply concerned about the passive policies
of this country for many years, predating this administration,
as it relates to our relationship with China. Today, I think
we're paying a heavy price, not just in the human rights
violation, which is against our principles, but on
international trade and many other fronts where China has not
been helpful as a friend of the United States.
Ambassador Negroponte. I would say this, Senator. I think
it's a much more mixed picture than the one that you paint. I
think that engagement with China is a long-term proposition. If
you look at the economic side, for example, our exports to
China now are starting to grow at a very rapid rate. And I know
we have a deficit, but our exports went up to $65 billion last
year, up 18 percent from the previous year.
Senator Cardin. May I just challenge you on that issue?
Because, of course, the trade imbalance has only grown since we
have engaged China in normal trade relations, and the
manipulation of China's currency is still extreme. Even though
we've seen a change in the United States values, the Chinese
practice of holding their currency to ours has prevented a fair
exchange that all economists say should take place between
their currency and ours.
Ambassador Negroponte. Well, the renminbi, the Chinese
currency, is now under seven renminbi to the dollar, which is
the first time since 1994. So, there has been an appreciation.
It's appreciated about 18 percent since July 2005, when they
abandoned their currency. But, all I'm trying to say is, this
is a multifaceted, very broad relationship. I lead our dialogue
with China, the so-called ``senior dialogue'' with my
counterpart, and we talk about global issues, we talk about
security on the Korean Peninsula. China is very important to
the whole issue of the Six-Party Talks on North Korea. We talk
about Darfur, where they're sending an engineering battalion,
and they have, I think, moderated their position with respect
to the Sudan. And we work with them on such intractable issues
as the question of Iran and its nuclear program.
So, it's a much more mixed picture, and I don't think it's
quite so categorical as you suggested.
Senator Cardin. I would certainly agree with you that it is
a complicated arrangement. I'm not sure there's so much of a
mixed message, but clearly on human rights and clearly on
economic issues, we have not accomplished what was anticipated
when we normalized relations with China. At that time we were
told that if we could only communicate with China, if we could
only bring them into the major powers in discussing
responsibility and what it means to become a major power, that
we would see dramatic changes occur. Yes, we've seen dramatic
changes occur in China. They're a lot more competitive, and
they are unfairly penetrating our market, but we haven't seen
the type of responsible conduct that was at least part of the
I remember, when we normalized trade with China, we set up
a commission that was supposed to look at human rights issues.
That commission hasn't been very active. And certainly, as we
were told at the time, we'd have to put teeth into it because
having that information and putting a spotlight on it wouldn't
be enough. Well, we put a spotlight on a lot of things, we talk
a lot, and I appreciate the fact that the President met with
the Dalai Lama. I think that was a very positive move, a very
positive move. And we are putting a spotlight on this issue.
And the international press has been pretty clear about it.
But, we have to be stronger. We're stronger with our closer
allies than we are sometimes with those countries that we're
just timid about, and I just think it's wrong.
So, I would just urge us all to be more aggressive in
making it clear to China that it's wrong for the government in
power to act as oppressively as they did in Tibet. It was
wrong. They can't justify it under any circumstances. There has
to be a price to pay internationally when that type of conduct
goes without correction.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Senator Boxer. Thank you very much.
So, we're going to have 5 minutes more, whoever would like
And I think, again, what I was saying is that there is a
sense of frustration on both sides of the aisle. It seems every
time we get to a point, you know, again, we feel your
compassion and concern, and I believe it's real, but China's
important. China's important. Of course China's important. I
voted to have normalized trade relations with China, even
though I had a lot of concerns, because I don't want to isolate
China, but, at the same time, when you welcome China into the
world, and we're their biggest customer, and the good things
that they're getting because of our customers, you've got to be
honest here, and you can't be timid, as the good Senator from
So, you know, I'm going to--just going to go through a few
ideas with you, because what I'd like to see out of this
administration is, you know, a six-point plan, one of them
being that we're going to make opening a consulate in Lhasa our
No. 1 priority of the new offices we want to open up. And that
would be a good signal. No. 1. We're reviewing it, we're moving
it up on the list to No. 1. I think that would be good.
No. 2, a strong statement by the President that, since he's
going to China, he will go to the Tibet region. I think that's
Three--and this--I will ask you this question, because I
don't know the answer on this one--because our European friends
are pretty strong on this--Germany, France, the United
Kingdom--are you talking with them about this? Are you working
on some kind of a plan where we could all work together on
approaching China? Are you already doing this?
Ambassador Negroponte. There was a meeting of the Human
Rights Council in Geneva recently, and we worked with our
European friends on that issue.
Senator Boxer. In what way did you work on the issue? What
did you say we should do together?
Ambassador Negroponte. Well, no, what I'm saying is that
there was an expression of concern at that Council about what
the Chinese are doing in Tibet, and we worked with our European
friends on the statements that were made there. But, in terms
of some kind of a concerted policy, I'm not aware that we have
Senator Boxer. OK.
Ambassador Negroponte [continuing]. Such initiative
underway at the moment.
Senator Boxer. OK. Well, that's something I think we should
consider, because unity gives strength. I mean, that gives more
oomph to what we're trying to do.
Is the State Department insisting that there be U.S.
diplomats at the trials of the Tibetans, those 1,000 people
that we think are going to have a trial?
Ambassador Negroponte. Well, we want----
Senator Boxer [continuing]. May 1?
Ambassador Negroponte. We want the maximum access possible,
and, quite frankly, Madam Chairman, this was one of the first
issues that I raised with the Ambassador of China when he came
in to see me on this Tibet issue very early on, is, we really
want access for our people, and as soon as possible. And I
Senator Boxer. Has that been done?
Ambassador Negroponte [continuing]. Something we should
continue to insist upon----
Senator Boxer. OK.
Ambassador Negroponte [continuing]. And we have not been
given adequate access.
Senator Boxer. Right.
Ambassador Negroponte. And we would like----
Senator Boxer. So, you are insisting----
Ambassador Negroponte. Yes.
Senator Boxer [continuing]. That there be U.S. diplomats at
the trials and U.S. diplomats, journalists, and humanitarian
missions be allowed into the Tibetan region. Are you insisting
verbally, or are you insisting in writing, or is it back-
Ambassador Negroponte. Well, no, this was in conversations
that I had with the Ambassador of China when he came in to call
on me officially at the Department of State. I didn't say
access specifically to the trials, I said access to Tibet.
Senator Boxer. Are you aware that the U.N. is trying to get
special rapporteurs on torture, extrajudicial killings,
religious freedom, and the High Commissioner on Human Rights
into the country--into the Tibetan region, rather?
Ambassador Negroponte. I wasn't specifically aware of it,
but I'm not surprised, and I think that would be good idea.
Senator Boxer. All right. Well, let me just say--I mean, I
think, just from the things that I've suggested--Senator
Murkowski, Senator Menendez, Senator Cardin--I mean, I'm
hoping--and what I'm going to do at the end of all this is just
send you a letter about, you know, what an action plan----
Ambassador Negroponte. Right.
Senator Boxer [continuing]. Might look like, and maybe you
could let us know. Because, I'll tell you something, the days
are going forward, the trials are coming, the Olympics are
coming, the torch is going around the world, people are upset,
there's violence, and so on, the Dalai Lama says he doesn't
want, you know, a separate country, the Chinese says he does,
and this thing is getting dangerous. And so, again, I just want
you to know--and I will call on my colleagues to complete this
round--how much I appreciate your coming here today. I think
it's important that you did. And we appreciate it, but we hope
that you will be working with us as we formulate an action plan
on this, so that it's not just, ``We're trying. We're upset,
but China's important.'' You know, I get all that. But, we need
to have an action plan, and I don't think anything that any of
us here have suggested is, you know, that far out of
commonsense thought. So, will you work with us as we move
Ambassador Negroponte. Thank you for that, and we look
forward to receiving your letter.
Senator Boxer. That'd be great. And hopefully we can do a
joint letter across the aisle.
Senator Murkowski. Thank you, Madam Chair. I didn't have a
final question, but I appreciate your suggestions, Madam
Chairman, in terms of action items. I think it is important to
know that, as we all leave this hearing, that there is going to
be more than just the same attempt at dialogue.
One quick question for you, Mr. Secretary, in terms of the
financial institutions that may be at play. What role does the
World Bank play in Tibet? And--I'm asking the question, because
we've talked about--well, perhaps, sanctions as they relate to
the Olympics are not the way to go, but we know that, in
dealing with other issues, sometimes the way to get attention
is through the financial route. Can you enlighten me a little
bit, in terms of the financial----
Ambassador Negroponte. Right.
Senator Murdowski [continuing]. Institutions that----
Ambassador Negroponte. Yes.
Senator Murdowski [continuing]. Might be at play here?
Ambassador Negroponte. Well, to the best of my knowledge,
they have no role in Tibet.
Senator Murkowski. OK.
Ambassador Negroponte [continuing]. And, of course, China
itself, at the moment, is in quite a favorable----
Senator Murkowski. Right.
Ambassador Negroponte [continuing]. Financial position,
with 1.6 trillion, or almost 1.7 trillion, in reserves. And, in
fact, they've invested quite a bit in the economic
modernization of Tibet. I think that's actually been one of the
controversial issues for the Tibetan residents there, because
there's been an issue of the migration, the inward migration of
Han Chinese into the Tibet Autonomous Region. So, the impact of
modernization, I think, is one of the issues for the people of
Tibet. But, no, there is no role, that I'm aware of, of the
World Bank in Tibet.
Senator Murkowski. Madam Chair, recognizing that we do have
two other panels, I will reserve my time. Thank you.
Senator Boxer. Thank you so much.
Senator Menendez. Thank you, Madam Chair. Just a couple of
Mr. Secretary, in the fiscal year 2009 budget, the
President requested cuts to Radio Free Asia and Voice of
America. These programs include Tibetan broadcasts, and we have
been told that cuts in all broadcasts to the PRC are still
planned. So, if we're going to increase Tibetan----
Ambassador Negroponte. We are.
Senator Menendez [continuing]. Increases--well, then, I'm--
assume the President's going to change, or seek a further
request from the Congress than what he submitted, because right
now what we have is cuts, not improvements.
Ambassador Negroponte. The current plan is to increase
those broadcasts through the end of the fiscal year, and we'll
obviously have to address the issue you raise, because that
budget was sent up, I believe, prior to the recent situation
with respect to Tibet. But, we certainly don't want to cut our
Senator Menendez. So, your increase was only because of the
incidents that took place, is that----
Ambassador Negroponte. Excuse me?
Senator Menendez. Your increase that you talked about is
only because of the incidents----
Ambassador Negroponte. I believe so, yes.
Senator Menendez. Oh.
With reference to the consulate question, isn't it true
that the Chinese wants consulates here in the United States?
Ambassador Negroponte. Yes.
Senator Menendez. Isn't it true that there's reciprocity of
agreement--we have to agree to those, as well?
Ambassador Negroponte. Yes.
Senator Menendez. Is it true, then, if you were to say that
Lhasa--``If you don't get Lhasa, you don't get another
consulate here in the United States,'' that that would be
leverage for you?
Ambassador Negroponte. That would be leverage. We have on
our list six or seven consulates that we want in China, so in
fact, I think we've asked for more in China than they have
asked of us. But, in any case, I take the suggestion that
Chairman Boxer put forward, which is that we, perhaps, ought to
bump up the priority that we assign to Lhasa on our list of
consulates that we would like to seek in China.
Senator Menendez. Finally, the International Olympic
Committee's evaluation of China's 2001 Olympic bid documented
that, ``It was confirmed to the Commission that there will be
no restrictions on media reporting and movement of journalists,
up to and including''--up to and including--``the Olympic
Games.'' And, at that time, the Secretary General of the
Beijing Bid Committee said, ``I think we will give the media
complete freedom to report, when they come to China. We have
made our guarantees in our bid documents. All the world's media
will be welcome to come to China.'' So, what steps are we
taking to ensure that China abides by its commitment to the IOC
to allow media access, including in Tibet?
Ambassador Negroponte. Well, clearly that--what they've
done with respect to Tibet is not consistent with that
commitment, and I think we must continue to call that to their
Senator Menendez. We have IOC representatives, don't we,
from the United States? Are we raising our voices, in this
Ambassador Negroponte. Well, and we also have our own
Senator Menendez. No, but this is the committee that
ultimately oversees the bidding process and the fulfillment of
the games. It seems to me that we have another point of
I just don't think--just to echo the chairlady's comments,
which I join in, totally--that the different points of leverage
that are available to the United States Government are not
being as proactively pursued as they can be. And I would hope
that the message you take away from today's hearing, and for
others who couldn't be here today, is that we are looking for a
much more proactive policy.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Senator Boxer. Thank you.
Senator Cardin. I'll yield back my time so we can get to
the next panel.
Senator Boxer. OK.
Well, thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. We----
Ambassador Negroponte. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Senator Boxer [continuing]. Do appreciate all the time.
And, of course, you're welcome to stay or leave. I know you
Ambassador Negroponte. Thank you.
Senator Boxer [continuing]. Hectic schedule.
Ambassador Negroponte. Appreciate it.
Senator Boxer. And we are honored to call up our second
panel: Mr. Richard Gere, president of the Gere Foundation, and
chairman of the board, International Campaign for Tibet; and
Mr. Lodi Gyari, Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,
in Washington, DC.
Mr. Secretary, I see that--the cameras are here for you,
Is that--they're all following you. Or for me, for that
Senator Boxer. What we're going to do is--Mr. Richard Gere
is going to make a statement, and then he's going to introduce
Mr. Gyari, and then we'll hear from Mr. Gyari.
So, Mr. Gere, whenever you're ready, we're ready for you.
And we thank you very much for being here.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD GERE, PRESIDENT, THE GERE FOUNDATION, AND
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR TIBET (ICT),
NEW YORK, NY
Mr. Gere. I don't know much about this media thing of
microphones and this, but----
Mr. Gere. Look, I'm just so pleased and--on many levels--
that this meeting has taken place, but also the incredible
education that you all have on this subject. It's something
that touches me very deeply.
Madam Chairman, Senator Murkowski, and other members of the
subcommittee, thank you for inviting me here today to speak on
the crisis of Tibet.
And, as we know, this is an incredibly vast subject, which
is not just Tibet, but takes into account the entire area of
Asia, and now the entire world. So, I'm going to confine myself
to a smaller area, and--in a brief statement--and turn this
over, actually, to my friend.
I'm here as chairman of the board of directors of the
International Campaign for Tibet, which advocates on behalf of
the rights of Tibetans and a negotiated solution on the future
of Tibet. I am here also to introduce and support my long-time
friend and colleague Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, who is the lead
negotiator with the Chinese Government in his role as Special
Envoy to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Madam Chairman, it was only 6 months ago that we gathered
here across the street in the Capitol Rotunda to witness a most
moving and remarkable historic event. It was the awarding of a
Congressional Gold Medal to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It
really was an amazing thing. For me, deeply emotional. I was
humbled, and I was very honored to watch His Holiness receive
from the United States Congress its highest recognition for his
lifelong devotion to peace, compassion, and total nonviolence,
and for speaking the truth about the condition of his people.
Not only did the ceremony touch me spiritually, it made me
deeply proud to be an American. I was there with the President
of the United States, Members of Congress, both parties
standing side by side with the Dalai Lama, in unified support
of his efforts on behalf of the Tibetan people. By becoming the
first American President to appear publicly with His Holiness,
President Bush sent a clear signal of his commitment to put the
United States on the side of human rights and religious freedom
and to preserve the cultural and linguistic uniqueness of the
On March 10, a vortex opened up over Tibet, the unleashing
of countless layers of frustration and resentment. The unrest
inside Tibet, which continues to this day, did not start
because of the Beijing Olympics, it was not instigated by the
Dalai Lama, no matter what the Chinese authorities have so
offensively claimed; the spontaneous demonstrations and unrest
which were the direct result of nearly six decades of brutal
repression and calculated efforts to control religious practice
and attack the very foundations of Tibetan religious, cultural,
and ethnic identity. The cultural resolution is still alive and
very well inside of Tibet.
I've been especially disturbed by the news that some monks
have resorted to suicide after being forced to denounce His
Holiness the Dalai Lama as part of the oppressive patriotic
education campaign now underway in monasteries and schools
There's a particular story, that moves me, of a monk named
Lekstok, from Goman Monastery. Lekstok was an elderly man. He
was 75 years old. After the demonstrations started, they were
confined to their monastery. He left with two students to get
some food and supplies. The Chinese security forces came upon
them, beat them, threw them in jail, continued to beat and
torture them for several days, released them. Lekstok and his
two students went back to the monastery, and, very soon after,
he wrote a note saying that he could no longer take the
repression, and he killed himself.
Please understand how deeply this offense is of denouncing
His Holiness, what that feels like to a monk or a nun, and how
much suicide violates one of the cardinal precepts of the
Buddhist faith. You can sense how deeply depressed and tortured
these people are.
There's actually another person here I'd like to introduce.
Is Ngawang Sangdrol here? Yeah, this is a success story, in
many ways. I want to make sure I have the information here.
Now, Ngawang is a former Tibetan nun and a political
prisoner. She was 13 years old when she was arrested, and she
was detained and tortured for political activities. She'd go on
to spend 11 years as a political prisoner in the infamous
Drapchi prison in Lhasa. Her crime was to publicly call for
freedom in Tibet and declare her love for the Dalai Lama.
The efforts of the current Bush administration and the U.S.
Congress secured Ngawang Sangdrol's early release from prison
and allowed her to travel to the United States. Since then, she
has served as a tireless advocate for the Tibetan people,
traveling the world to share her firsthand account of
repression in Tibet.
We did have some effect, in this case; we did get her out
of prison. And we can do these things, if we put our minds to
it, and that really is the issue that we're all speaking to. If
we put our minds to it.
Since Buddhism took hold in Tibet, 1,300 years ago,
Tibetans have worked single-pointedly to rid themselves of
anger and violence and hatred, turning these into the noble
expressions of love, compassion, and forgiveness. This is their
cultural legacy. But, they have been left with so little
opportunity and have experienced so much brutality for so many
years, they have reached the tipping point of despair and
hopelessness. But, right now the whole world is watching.
At the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony, the President
expressed his solidarity for the plight of the Tibetan people
and embraced the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and his cause of
basic freedoms and human decency in Tibet. Yet, today, when
Tibetans are in their greatest moment of need, we have heard
only a passing comment from the President of the United States.
I was pleased to read the piece from Undersecretary
Dobriansky that was published in the Washington Post on Monday,
and it was a good article, following some previous very public
fumbling on the issue, which was referred to before, when the
National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley, commented on the
crisis, mentioning Nepal repeatedly, and, for some reason,
didn't say the word ``Tibet.'' I was beginning to wonder how we
can trust this administration to do the right thing when they
can't even find Tibet, apparently, on the map.
I'm still waiting for the President to throw some weight
behind this issue and become publicly engaged. We're looking
for effective policies that yield results for those who are
suffering now. We're in a tug-of-war between freedom and
repression; literally, survival and extinction. The cycle will
not end until we see a negotiated solution grounded in genuine
harmony and trust between the Chinese and Tibetan peoples.
Let's not be fooled by the Communist Party's concept of a
``harmonious society,'' which is the catch phrase now that's
going around. We now know that this is a very hollow slogan.
Genuine peace and stability do not emerge from the barrel of a
gun. Genuine harmony between people is based on the ability to
speak the truth. And this requires dialogue and goodwill, both
of which, if we listen to the rhetoric coming out of Beijing,
are in short supply among the Chinese leadership.
We must avoid further alienating the Chinese people, who
themselves have been victimized and are governed by the same
leaders that are authorizing the crackdown in Tibet. It's
desperately important that we ensure that our Chinese brothers
and sisters have access to the truth, and we must hope and pray
that they will take advantage of the opportunity.
Of course we applaud the Chinese for their extraordinary
economic success and the sense of national achievement. It was
interesting, when I was in San Francisco for the demonstrations
there, with the passing of the torch. I became aware of this
really interesting subtlety between ethnic pride and national
pride. And what I was sensing there was a--of course there's a
sense of ``Chineseness,'' and especially ``Han Chineseness'' in
this moment. It's not necessarily for the Communist Party or
for any governmental system, but, of course, a natural sense of
being Chinese and being proud of that. And we have to be aware
of this distinction.
At the same time, we must not fail to take pride in the
principles that have made our own nation great, are enshrined
in the universal declaration of human rights and hold in their
realization the real promise of world peace. The United States
and like-minded nations must do whatever we can to redirect
Chinese ambition onto the path of democracy and human rights
Paradoxically, the present crisis can be seen as an opening
to create a framework for the Chinese leadership themselves to
initiate a meaningful results-based dialogue with the Dalai
Lama. Surely, Chinese leaders, despite what they say, must
realize that His Holiness, with his unwavering commitment to
peace, nonviolence, and an autonomous Tibet within the
structure of the PRC, is critical to the lasting stability of
For Tibetans and for the larger world, only the Dalai Lama
can serve as a foundation of legitimacy for Chinese rule. Key
to moving forward is developing a better understanding of the
internal political dynamics within the Chinese leadership
concerning Tibet. Are there differences of opinion? Are there
voices of sanity there?
One such light in the darkness is a recent resolution
signed by over 100 very, very courageous Chinese intellectuals
in the mainland demanding a rethinking of China's Tibet policy,
calling for an immediate end to the demonization of Tibetans.
And from that I'll quote, ``We hold that we must eliminate
animosity and bring about national reconciliation, not continue
to increase divisions between nationalities. A country that
wishes to avoid the partition of its territory must first avoid
divisions among its nationalities. Therefore, we appeal to the
leaders of our country to hold direct dialogue with the Dalai
Lama. We hope that the Chinese and Tibetan people would do away
with the misunderstandings between them, develop their
interactions with each other, and achieve unity. Government
departments, as much as popular organizations and religious
figures, should make great efforts toward this goal.''
We don't know what's happened to them, by the way, but I'm
This gives us tremendous wonder as to how and why Chinese
leaders continue to make such wrong-handed policy statements
and decisions that run so counter to their national goals. Are
there Communist leaders brave enough to envision a positive
resolution in Tibet that will enhance China internally and
internationally as a nation of peace, prosperity, and genuine
The one-party system has created a political culture that
does not allow for unwelcome news to move up the chain. Field
reports of growing hopelessness, anger, and resentment inside
of Tibet--in the cities and villages, and among the nomads--
have had little chance of making it to the desks of top
officials. So, it's not hard to imagine that the extent of the
uprisings and the international reaction have caught them off
guard. We know we are witnessing a complete breakdown of
China's Tibet policy. And I suspect leaders in Beijing are
coming to realize this, too.
If we learn more about the internal Chinese debate, we can
identify opportunities for moving forward on a dialogue that
benefits both China and Tibet as their interests are definitely
not mutually exclusive. Key to this is President Hu Jintao
himself. This is clearly a defining moment for him--tests his
leadership, offers him a distinct opportunity, possibly for
greatness. He was the party chief in the Tibet Autonomous
Region during the 1989 crackdown. His rise to power was
propelled by the hardline approach he held at that time. Some
have suggested that Hu, with his background, is well positioned
for a Nixon-goes-to-China moment on the Tibet question. Let's
hope that he has both the courage and the stature to heed the
American leaders and other heads of state must urge him to
seize the critical moment and remind him of the great lost
opportunity for China and its--and his--emerging legacy if he
Now, more than ever, instead of blaming the Dalai Lama,
Beijing must reflect on the failures of its strategy for Tibet.
It's in his own long-term interest to recognize what led to the
current instability and to engage, for the first time, to the
genuine grievances of the Tibetan people, and embrace the Dalai
Lama as a partner in earnest dialogue. I urge Congress to
vigorously promote policies toward this goal before it's too
Finally, I want to express my deep appreciation for the
political and programmatic support that the U.S. Congress has
provided for the Tibetan people. It was suggested before, and
it has been wonderful. It's not always been easy to keep the
financing and support there, but it has been there, and I thank
you all for that. This support, from humanitarian assistance to
refugees to Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Tibetan Language
Broadcasts, it's all been crucial. It's created a nation of
people who still believe in the United States of America as a
beacon of freedom. And, in a sometimes very dark world, that's
incredibly important to them. Of this support, the American
people can be very, very proud.
Over the years, it's been my pleasure to get to know many
Members of Congress and United States Government officials who
work to advance Tibetan issues. Some are long retired, like
Senator Claiborne Pell. Others, like Senator Moynihan and my
dear friend Congressman Tom Lantos, are gone from us now. Julia
Taft, who held the position of Special Coordinator for Tibetan
Issues of the State Department, has also recently passed away.
Just days before her passing, the International Campaign for
Tibet awarded Julia its Light of Truth Award, which is very
important to us, for her significant contributions to the
public understanding of Tibet and its people. I know Julia also
had many friends in the Congress who supported and respected
her work to promote the best humanitarian engagement possible
by these United States with those less fortunate around the
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gere follows:]
Prepared Statement of Richard Gere, President, the Gere Foundation and
Chairman of the Board of Directors, International Campaign for Tibet,
New York, NY
Madam Chairman, Senator Murkowski, other members of the
subcommittee, thank you for inviting me here today to speak on the
crisis in Tibet.
I am here as the chairman of the Board of Directors of the
International Campaign for Tibet, which advocates on behalf of the
rights of Tibetans and a negotiated solution on the future of Tibet. I
am also here to introduce and support my longtime friend and colleague,
Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, who serves as lead negotiator with the Chinese
Government in his role as Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Madam Chairman, it was only 6 months ago that we gathered here,
across the street in the Capitol Rotunda, to witness a most-moving and
remarkable historic event--the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal
to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I was honored and humbled to watch as
His Holiness received from the United States Congress its highest
recognition for his lifelong devotion to peace, compassion, and
nonviolence, and for speaking the truth about the condition of his
Not only did the ceremony touch me spiritually, it made me deeply
proud to be an American and to see the President and Members of
Congress, of both parties, standing side by side with the Dalai Lama in
unified support of his efforts on behalf of the Tibetan people. By
becoming the first American President to appear publicly with His
Holiness, President Bush sent a clear signal of his commitment to put
the United States on the side of human rights and religious freedom,
and to preserve the cultural and linguistic uniqueness of the Tibetan
On March 10, a vortex opened up over Tibet: The unleashing of
countless layers of frustration and resentment. The unrest inside
Tibet, which continues to this day, did not start because of the
Beijing Olympics. It was not instigated by the Dalai Lama, no matter
what the Chinese authorities have so offensively claimed.
The spontaneous demonstrations and unrest were the direct result of
nearly six decades of brutal repression and calculated efforts to
control religious practice and attack the very foundations of the
Tibetan religious, cultural, and ethnic identity.
The Cultural Revolution is still alive and well inside Tibet.
Since Buddhism took hold in Tibet 1,300 years ago, Tibetans have
worked single pointedly to rid themselves of anger, violence, and
hatred turning these into the noble expressions of love, compassion,
and forgiveness. This is their cultural legacy. But they have been left
with so little opportunity and have experienced such brutality for so
many years that they have reached the tipping point of despair and
Now the whole world is watching. At the Congressional Gold Medal
ceremony, the President expressed his solidarity for the plight of the
Tibetan people and embraced the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and his
cause of basic freedoms and human decency in Tibet. Yet, today, when
Tibetans are in their greatest moment of need, we have heard only a
passing comment from the President.
I was pleased to read the piece that Under Secretary Dobriansky had
published in the paper on Monday. Following some previous very public
fumbling of this issue, even from the President's top National Security
advisor (Two Sundays ago on ABC's ``This Week,'' National Security
Advisor Steven Hadley commented on the crisis by erroneously mentioning
``Nepal'' seven times, never once uttering the word ``Tibet.'' \1\), I
was beginning to wonder how we can trust this administration to do the
right thing when they cannot even find Tibet on a map.
\1\ This Week with George Stephanopolous, ABC, April 13, 2008.
I still am waiting for the President to throw some weight behind
this issue and become publicly engaged. We are looking for effective
policies that yield results for those who are suffering now.
We are in a tug of war between freedom and repression, survival,
and extinction. The cycle will not end until we see a negotiated
solution grounded in genuine harmony and trust between the Chinese and
Let us not be fooled by the Communist Party's concept of a
``harmonious society.'' We know now that this is a hollow slogan.
Genuine peace and stability do not emerge from the barrel of a gun.
Genuine harmony between people is based on the ability to speak the
truth. This requires dialogue and goodwill, both of which--if we listen
to the rhetoric coming out of Beijing--are in short supply among the
We must avoid further alienating the Chinese people, who themselves
have been victimized and are governed by the same leaders that are
authorizing the crackdown in Tibet. It is desperately important that we
ensure that our Chinese brothers and sisters have access to the truth,
and we must hope and pray they will take advantage of the opportunity.
Of course, we applaud the Chinese for their extraordinary economic
success and sense of national achievement. At the same time, we must
not fail to take pride in the principles that have made our own Nation
great, are enshrined in Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and hold
in their realization the real promise of world peace. The United States
and like-minded nations must do whatever we can to redirect Chinese
ambition onto the path of democracy and human rights.
Paradoxically, the present crisis can be seen as an opening to
create a framework for the Chinese leadership themselves to initiate a
meaningful, results-based dialogue with the Dalai Lama. Surely China's
leaders, despite what they say, must realize that His Holiness, with
his unwavering commitment to peace, nonviolence, and an autonomous
Tibet within the structure of the PRC, is critical to the lasting
stability of the region. For Tibetans and for the larger world, only
the Dalai Lama can serve as a foundation of legitimacy for Chinese
Key to moving forward is developing a better understanding of the
internal political dynamics within the Chinese leadership concerning
Tibet. Are there differences of opinion? Are there voices of sanity?
One such light in the darkness is the recent resolution signed by over
100 very courageous Chinese intellectuals demanding a rethinking of
China's Tibet policy and calling for an immediate end to the demonizing
of Tibetans and I quote, ``We hold that we must eliminate animosity and
bring about national reconciliation, not continue to increase divisions
between nationalities. A country that wishes to avoid the partition of
its territory must first avoid divisions among its nationalities.
Therefore, we appeal to the leaders of our country to hold direct
dialogue with the Dalai Lama. We hope that the Chinese and Tibetan
people will do away with the misunderstandings between them, develop
their interactions with each other, and achieve unity. Government
departments as much as popular organizations and religious figures
should make great efforts toward this goal.''
This gives us tremendous wonder as to how and why, Chinese leaders
continue to make such wrong-headed policy decisions that run so counter
to their national goals. Are there Communist leaders brave enough to
envision a positive resolution in Tibet that will enhance China
internally and internationally as a nation of peace, prosperity, and
The one-party system has created a political culture that does not
allow for unwelcome news to move up the chain. Field reports of growing
hopelessness, anger, and resentment inside Tibet, in the cities, in the
villages, among the nomads, have had little chance of making it to the
desks of top officials.
So it's not hard to imagine that the extent of the uprisings, and
the international reaction, have caught them way off guard. We know we
are witnessing a complete breakdown of China's Tibet policy. I suspect
that leaders in Beijing are coming to realize this too.
If we can learn more about the internal Chinese debate, we can
identify opportunities for moving forward on a dialogue that benefits
both China and Tibet as their interests are definitely not mutually
President Hu Jintao is key to this. This is a defining moment that
tests his leadership and offers him a distinct opportunity for
greatness. He was Party Chief in the Tibetan Autonomous Region during
the 1989 crackdown. His rise to power was propelled by the hard-line
approach he held at that time. Some have suggested that Hu, with this
background, is well-positioned for a ``Nixon goes to China'' moment on
the Tibet question. Let's hope that he has both the courage and the
stature to heed the call. American leaders and other heads of state
must urge him to seize the critical moment, and remind him of the great
lost opportunity for China and its- and his- emerging legacy if he does
Now, more than ever, instead of blaming the Dalai Lama, Beijing
must reflect on the failures of its strategy for Tibet. It is in its
own long-term interest to recognize what has led to the current
instability, and to engage for the first time with the genuine
grievances of the Tibetan people and embrace the Dalai Lama as a
partner in earnest dialogue. I urge Congress to vigorously promote
policies toward this goal before it's too late.
Finally, I want to express deep appreciation for the political and
programmatic support that the U.S. Congress has provided to the Tibetan
people. This support--from humanitarian assistance to refugees to Voice
of America and Radio Free Asia Tibetan language broadcasts--has been
crucial and has created a nation of people who still believe in the
United States of America as a beacon of freedom in a sometimes very
dark world. Of this support, the American people can be very proud.
Over the years, it has been my pleasure to get to know many Members
of Congress and U.S. Government officials who work to advance Tibetan
issues. Some are long retired, like Senator Claiborne Pell, others like
Senator Moynihan, are gone from us. Julia Taft, who held the position
of Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues at the State Department has
also recently passed away. Just days before her passing, the
International Campaign for Tibet awarded Julia its Light of Truth Award
for her significant contributions to the public understanding of Tibet
and its people. I know Julia also had many friends in the Congress who
supported and respected her work to promote the best humanitarian
engagement possible by these United States with those less fortunate
around the world.
Senator Boxer. Thank you so much, Mr. Gere.
You could stay at the table, if you wish, or you could take
your other seat, however you feel more comfortable, because I
know that we're going to hear from Lodi Gyari.
I just want to say to you, just for myself, that I've
watched your work through the years for so many important
causes. This one just has been extraordinary. And I just really
do--and I say this to you, and I've said it to others, because
I am from California, and I so support those from my State who
give up their privacy. It's not--I mean, we kid around about
the cameras. They're here, because you're here. And this could
be annoying to you. The fact is, you're willing to give up your
privacy for such a noble and honorable cause. And for me, it's
really helpful, and for those of us here, because there's just
so much we can do to get the cameras here. And, believe me, we
can't compete with this. So, we are absolutely, just thrilled
and delighted that you care so much that you would come here
today and share your thoughts.
And, by the way, you really did give us a very important, I
think, picture into this whole issue that I don't think we had
Mr. Gere. Well, thank you very much, Senator.
I--just as a closing comment, this Tibet issue is not a
small issue. There are 6 million Tibetans in the TAR and
Tibetan regions that are now outside of the TAR, as defined by
China since their invasion. This is an issue much larger than
Tibet, and it has to do with--it speaks to who we are as a
Senator Boxer. I agree.
Mr. Gere [continuing]. Who we want to be. As a nation, what
do we really stand for? The values that are inherent in the
Tibetan experiment, which was an extraordinary experiment, like
the United States of America--they decided to make something
new, something extraordinary that was really based on love and
compassion and understanding, and institutions that would
create more people of great love and great compassion and great
sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. And that's why we have to
stand by them. We're speaking to ourselves as we speak for the
Thank you very much.
Senator Boxer. Well, it does make us feel more noble when
we take these issues on.
And we're very honored to have the Special Envoy of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mr. Lodi Gyari.
And is 10 minutes enough time for you, sir? Are you--is
that all right?
Mr. Gyari. That's good.
Senator Boxer. OK. Very good.
STATEMENT OF LODI GYARI, SPECIAL ENVOY OF HIS HOLINESS THE
DALAI LAMA, WASHINGTON, DC
Mr. Gyari. Thank you very much, Madam Chairperson and other
members of the committee.
I'm really very grateful for this very timely hearing that
you have called for. And, in fact, I would rather, before I
start my presentation, make some remarks or observations of the
very important, I think, exchange that you had with the Deputy
Secretary of State. And I wanted to, at the very beginning,
urge the Madam Chairperson and others that you follow up and
work closely with the administration in the manner that you
have suggested, because I do agree with some of your
colleagues--Senator Menendez, for example. While we are very
grateful to the administration, and particularly to the
Congress, for your sympathy and for your understanding, but
there has to be a little more than expression of sympathy,
which, obviously, we very much appreciate. So, I think the
number of, you know, issues that you have listed, I think, is a
really very good starting point, because I think the Chinese
Government--I do not, you know, claim to know so much, but I
have dealt with them. You know, they are very, you know,
serious, sensible people, and they respect people when they are
also very serious and they mean, you know, what you say. So, I
think you need to send a very clear and precise message.
And I think you did ask very good questions about leverage.
And, you know, it was one of the most, I think, constructive
hearings--I'm not saying that the other hearings that I have
been to have not been constructive, but today I saw a real
I can also clearly see, Madam Chair, you have mentioned,
that on both sides there's a, really, kind of feeling of, you
know, frustration. So--but, I think there was good beginning
here today. And on the list of things that you've suggested,
maybe also--and you did allude to that--I think, very close
cooperation between the Western democracies, because this time
we are also very gratified to see that the voices that you have
across Atlantic--the Germans, the Brits, the--particularly the
French and the Australians--everyone has, you know, really come
out. So, I think one of your--you know, on the list of things
that you wanted to suggest, if you could also very strongly
encourage the administration that they work together with other
I would also like to urge the Congress, too, to reach out
to your counterparts, you know, across, with the European
Parliament, for example, which has taken a great leadership
together with you on this issue, because this is, I think--it's
unfortunate, this tragic situation that is happening in Tibet.
In a strange way, you know, it gives the people of Tibet new
opportunity. So, I felt, you know, so much, you know, moved.
And also, I want, at the very beginning, really emphasize
on that, because I want something concrete to come out of, you
know, this hearing, as is the intention of the chair and of the
I know you wanted, Madam Chair, that I come here today and
share with you, first of all, you know, what, in our view, has
led to the present situation, and what is the present
situation, and what could be the future prospects.
I will not mince words. The present situation, the tragic
situation, is the result of misrule, mistreatment, policies of
Chinese Government, period. I think everyone knows that. It is
beyond any doubt. In fact, the ultra- leftist elements of the
Communist Party took total control over the Tibet policy way
back since 1957, and ever since--ever since, with regard to
Tibet, the policy is conducted by the extreme leftist wing of
the party. And this is the result of that--you know, that
And, as my friend and, you know, colleague, you know,
Richard, mentioned, I also hope that President Hu Jintao and
the present leaders will take this opportunity to really clean
house, other than making, you know, baseless charges against
His Holiness, which no one, you know, no one believes. What do
other, you know, to investigate--first of all, to reexamine
their own policy that has not worked, and then hold people
responsible that has misled them for the last many decades.
Misled them. And today, the Chinese leaders in Beijing feel
embarrassed, feel unhappy. That anger or that unhappiness
should not be directed towards His Holiness, but towards those
within the system that has led them into this present
At the same time, you know, while, you know, holding the
Chinese fully responsible, if I may say so, candidly, I think
the international community also has some responsibility. I
will be very frank. Because I think, while there were
expressions of sympathy for us periodically, sometimes, you
know, very visible manner, but, to be very candid, you know,
Tibet was not given the attention that it deserved. This,
unfortunately, you know, Madam Chairperson, is--I mean, is not
only with regard to Tibet. The only tragic situation happens
when only, you know, many human lives have been lost, then it
seems that the governments and the world really does wake up.
Quite often, very late for the situation. But, I just hope
that, with regards to Tibet, it is not too late.
So, you know, while expressing my gratitude, I also, you
know, want to be very candid to say that the world has not done
enough. And I do hope that, you know, this is the beginning of
a real serious, not just lip sympathy for the Tibetan people.
But, I also wanted to say today that the fact that you are
holding this hearing, Madam Chairperson, you are sending a very
powerful message. This is something that I think many people
don't understand. In fact, I know that there are also few--
fortunately few people who feel sometimes all, you know, the
Western nations kind of lip sympathy for Tibet or holding of
hearings sends the wrong message, it incites--it, in fact,
makes the Tibetan people feel some sense of hope and they then
do some stupid things.
I wanted to tell you, it is totally the opposite. The fact
that, in spite of so much suffering, that the Tibetan people
have been able to maintain patience and not to resort to
violence--No. 1, is the influence of the leader, His Holiness
the Dalai Lama. And the second, the credit really can go to
people like yourselves, who from time to time did send a
message to Tibetan people, said that, ``You are not totally
forgotten. You are not totally forgotten.'' And that is the
reason why, in spite of so much suffering, that there has been
certain degree of stability on the plateau.
But, you are beginning to witness the Tibetan people--the
Tibetan people are beginning to really, sometimes, you know,
feel, you know, that they have been ignored for too long, and
the symptoms are, you know, becoming very clear.
I also wanted to--I know--I mean, many of you know, but
sometimes I think people take it kind of very casually, you
know, when we talk about nonviolence. Unfortunately, even among
my own community, there are some people who think, ``Well,
nonviolence is something very passive, you know, something
that, you know, make only, sometimes, weak people can, you
know, important.'' I will tell you that, in fact, I think, to
struggle nonviolently is the most difficult struggle. Most
difficult. You just can't say that, ``Oh, I have become
nonviolent,'' as if it is kind of declaration, and then, from
that day on, you are nonviolent. No. Every moment, it is a new
dedication that we have to make to remain nonviolent. And we
can only do it, again, because of the leader that we have.
I will just share with you how, a few years back, as the
leader of the Tibetan Delegation, I had the opportunity even to
go to my birthplace. If you see some of the footages of my
visit, you see me, kind of, you know, with a smile, trying to
be nice. But, I will tell you today of the pain that I was
going through. I was visiting a monastery that I grew up,
because I was a young monk. Seventy percent of it is total
ruins--70 percent of it in total ruins now. You know, a place
that I grew up, you know, as a child, total ruins. And I
actually visited--which my colleagues also, you know, do not
know--I also visited the site where I know my grandmother was
tortured to death. I also visited the site where my elder
brother was starved to death. In spite of that, because of the
leadership that His Holiness provide, because of the commitment
that we have made to nonviolence, you see me all smiles with my
I'm sharing this with you because you understand and
appreciate more the part of struggle that His Holiness has led
us. So, please help us stay on this course, because this is not
only important for us, this is also important for China.
I'm sorry for being emotional. I was trying to be here, you
know, all, you know, business and to making you a presentation.
Senator Boxer. No, it's very appropriate. Please.
Mr. Gyari. But, let me also now, again, briefly touch--and
I know that my colleague has done it, and also, in fact, you
know, Deputy Secretary has also touched on that the situation
on the ground is very explosive. Very explosive. There have
been demonstrations in over 90 places, covering almost about 50
or nearly 60 counties, both in the autonomous region, but
outside of it. So, this clearly shows the danger, the intensity
of the situation. And our biggest concern right now, Madam
Chairperson, is not really the dialogue. I mean, dialogue is
important. I assure you that we are absolutely committed,
because that is the only way out. But right now His Holiness is
so much saddened with the situation, his biggest priority right
now is: What can he do immediately for those who have been
detained--what will happen to them? Those who have been injured
and are not having the possibility to get any medical help,
because many of them are hurt--we know from the experience of
1987 and 1988, many would be dying right now because the choice
for them is either to go to some kind of Chinese medical
clinic, which may, first of all, not even accept them, but, if
they do, that means immediate arrest and imprisonment. So,
there are many who are literally dying without any medical
I mean, I have talked, myself, with a person who's a
relative, was one of those who got shot in Lhasa. What did they
do? They were from the eastern part of Tibet, from outside of
Tibet Autonomous Region. They knew that if they went to the
hospital or the clinic, they would immediately be arrested.
Fortunately, for them, they had a vehicle. So, what they did
is, they loaded this person who was injured and drove--left
Lhasa, hoping that if they can somehow manage to reach their
own native area, they may then be, through their personal
connections, be able to provide some medical help. What
happens? Because of excessive bleeding, this person dies on the
way. I mean, this is just one example, because I know this as a
firsthand information. And there are many such things
So, at the moment, our biggest concern is the plight of
those arrested, those being tortured, and the very tense
situation that they have created throughout Tibet, so much so
that His Holiness, even in this hour of crisis, you know, had
the wisdom to personally write to Chinese President on the 19th
of March, just a week after the major demonstrations that
erupted in Lhasa--and I had the honor of forwarding that
through my channels--offering--His Holiness said that, you
know, ``Look, you know, we must all, at the moment, try to walk
together so that this tragic situation could be--could be
brought under control.''
Senator Boxer. Mr. Gyari, I'm going to ask you to sum it up
in a minute, because we do have some questions.
Mr. Gyari. Yes. Certainly, yes.
Senator Boxer. And we have a third----
Mr. Gyari. Yes.
Senator Boxer [continuing]. Panel. So----
Mr. Gyari. So, anyway, I just wanted to let you know that,
you know, our biggest concern right now is the tragic
situation. This is why we want you to help. And you have----
Senator Boxer. Yes.
Mr. Gyari [continuing]. Also already alluded to that.
And then, with regards to, you know, the other factor is,
we are also very much concerned, because Chinese, you see, now
as a result of the present situation, have started, you know, a
massive kind of policy of discrimination against Tibetans. Now,
this is fact that you see--you can verify, the State Department
can verify--now every Tibetan, even if you're a party member,
if you are identified as a Tibetan nationality, you are only,
now, allowed to walk, check into certain exclusive hotels
throughout China. You cannot just--if you are Tibetan, mind
you, you--not a Lama, not a nun--if you are Tibetan--you can be
party member, but if your identity card says that you are a
Tibetan nationality, you cannot even check into any hotel or
any accommodation, as all other Chinese citizens can do. And if
your identity card says that you are Tibetan nationality, you
cannot get a passport easily; on the other hand, the Chinese at
this--given passports very easily, because they would like the
economic advantage to be taken.
So, what I'm saying is that there is very dangerous
discrimination by the Chinese Government to the Tibetans as
people, and this is really leading into tremendous animosity
between the two peoples. This is of great concern.
Now, with regard to the future of dialogue, I will just
summarize. As I said earlier----
Senator Boxer. Mr. Gyari, we're going to have to finish
your testimony in 1 minute, because I have to leave this room
at a certain time, and I need to have time to----
Mr. Gyari. Certainly, yes. So, anyway, then let me just
Senator Boxer. So, I'm going to give you 1 minute, and then
we're going to ask you questions.
Mr. Gyari. Yes.
Senator Boxer. OK.
Mr. Gyari. We are fully committed to the policy of
engagement. You know, that I can assure you. Obviously, you
see, when next round happens, it cannot be business as usual,
because of the tragic situation. What we need is a clear
assurance from the Chinese Government that they're willing to
discuss the matter seriously.
So, I think that will be, you see, you know, the--some of
the main issues that I want to share. My written testimony is
on the record, which I hope, you know, you will study carefully
and reflect upon.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gyari follows:]
Prepared Statement of Lodi Gyari, Special Envoy of
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Washington, DC
Madame Chairwoman and members of the committee, at this critical
time for Tibet, I wish to express my appreciation to the Congress for
its unwavering support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his efforts
to find a peaceful solution for Tibet. I thank you for convening this
timely hearing and Deputy Secretary Negroponte for his appearance. What
he says on Tibet today will certainly be heard in Beijing.
I would like to thank my dear friend, Richard Gere, for his
introduction and, of course, for the years of hard work and splendid
achievement he has produced with the International Campaign for Tibet
and for His Holiness and the Tibetan people.
You have invited me to present His Holiness the Dalai Lama's views
on the current crisis and his plans for achieving a comprehensive and
lasting solution to the Tibet question. In brief, the current crisis is
a manifestation of decades of Chinese misrule and mistreatment of the
Tibetan people, influenced by ultra-leftist elements of the Party that
took control of Tibetan policy as early as 1957, and made worse by
decades of misleading information produced by local authorities for the
Among the most disturbing developments in Tibet is the segregation
of Tibetans from Chinese society. Tibetans are now instructed to stay
or return to their registered place of residence; they are prohibited
from accessing services, like hotels, unless specifically designated
for their use; and they are routinely harassed and detained simply
because they are Tibetan. Chinese servers in many restaurants are
choosing not to serve Tibetans.
The Chinese Government, which, as a tenet of its economic growth
strategy has encouraged travel for its citizens, restricts travel for
Tibetans. If you are a Tibetan nationality, you are required to attain
several clearances before you are issued a passport. In some Tibetan
areas, such as my own Nyarong County in Kanze Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture, Tibetans are not even allowed to leave the country. This
and existing social and economic disparities are reducing Tibetans to
second-class status, giving every appearance of Tibet being a back-
water colony and not a harmonious part of a multiethnic China that
Chinese leaders are promising.
Professor Phuntsok Wangyal, founder in 1942 of the Tibetan
Communist Party, who became one of the first victims of the
ultraleftists, wrote to Chairman Mao and Premier Zhou--in his own blood
from his prison cell on a copy of the Communist Party Manifesto--that
``fascism, and Great Han Chauvinism are the main irreconcilable enemies
of all the Tibetan people.'' That advice is as relevant today as it was
in the early days of the People's Republic of China.
While the Chinese Government readily accuses His Holiness the Dalai
Lama of ``splittist activities,'' ironically, it is they that have
adopted deeply divisive strategies to address the question of Tibet.
The Tibetan people are grateful for the global outpouring of
sympathy for what is occurring in Tibet, but we must also acknowledge
that the international community has for too long lacked sufficient
will to push for a resolution of the Tibet question. It is unfortunate
that the world seems to wake up to a situation only when it already has
become a tragedy, with much loss of life and devastation on the ground.
The Chinese leadership may not like the fact that what they have
considered to be an ``internal affair'' is now an international issue.
Nonetheless, it is a situation of their own making, for which they must
bear full responsibility. They can no longer pretend that there are not
fundamental problems in their policies in Tibet.
On Monday, the Washington Post ran an editorial, ``The Way Forward
in Tibet,'' written by Under Secretary Paula Dobriansky, the Special
Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. Its publication coincided with the
Under Secretary's meeting with His Holiness in Ann Arbor, Michigan,
where he was giving teachings. We appreciate this comprehensive public
statement on the part of the Bush administration, which included that
``the best way for China's leaders to address Tibetan concerns is to
engage in dialogue with the Dalai Lama.'' We have heard this same
message from Deputy Secretary Negroponte.
We have been seized with the situation in Tibet since March 10 when
the demands of a group of monks for religious freedom and the release
of others who had been jailed for celebrating the honor bestowed on His
Holiness last fall--the Congressional Gold Medal--sparked an outbreak
of anger and aggression against the Chinese presence in Lhasa and,
tragically, the loss of many lives.
Demonstrations have continued and spread throughout Tibet--and the
number of the Tibetan dead, missing, and detained continues to rise.
Chinese forces continue to conduct acts of retaliation and intimidation
against the Tibetan people, including the most contemptible attempts at
reeducation, even of school children by Communist Party work teams. A
climate of tension and fear exists that the Tibetans have not
experienced since the time of the Cultural Revolution.
SITUATION IN TIBET
Individually and collectively, people around the world have
denounced China's actions and attempted to intervene. Hundreds of
Chinese intellectuals have boldly signed an open letter condemning
Beijing's response to the crisis. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human
Rights requested--and was denied--urgent permission to visit Tibet. The
European Parliament and the U.S. Congress moved quickly to pass
resolutions calling on the Chinese Government to show restraint and to
engage directly with His Holiness to find solutions for the underlying
causes of the problems in Tibet. Beijing has heard this same message
from heads of state and eminent persons around the globe.
We continue to ask that the international community to press for
immediate remedies for the suffering of the Tibetan people, the most
critical of which is access by journalists, diplomats, and humanitarian
missions to Tibet.
We would like to recognize the important contribution of the
Tibetan language broadcast services at Voice of America and Radio Free
Asia, and Voice of Tibet, which have served as a critical line of
communication in and out of Tibet.
In brief, with little official information available, we can report
Chinese Government authorities have acknowledged the
surrender or detention of some 4,000 Tibetans.
We know of numerous deaths as a result of Chinese forces
firing into crowds of demonstrators in several areas of Tibet.
Many monasteries have been sealed off and under lockdown
across Tibet, and monks within subjected to many deprivations
Police have been carrying out house-to-house night raids in
Lhasa, in villages and nomad encampments, dragging away many
Hundreds of Tibetans have been loaded onto the new train in
Lhasa and taken away to prisons in China.
Large numbers of Chinese forces have been sent to all the
Tibetan areas where demonstrations have occurred. In the Amdo
and Kham areas of eastern Tibet, demonstrations have been
widespread and large-scale, and retaliation has been brutal.
One or more instances of protest have been reported in at
least 52 county-level locations, as well as Chengdu (the
capital of Sichuan), Lanzhou (the capital of Gansu) and
More than 98 protests have been counted so far, and they are
still happening. In only one of those protests, as far as we
are aware, has violence been used against Chinese civilians.
In recent weeks a new wave of protests has begun, in
response to stringent patriotic education campaigns in
monasteries and requirements to denounce the Dalai Lama. The
actions of the authorities are doing nothing to create
stability--they are provoking further resentment, despair, and
unrest. For instance, in a raid on Labrang Monastery on April
15, Chinese forces smashed altars in monks' cells and burned
images of the Dalai Lama that some monks had kept at great
risk. At Tongkor Monastery in Kardze, photographs of His
Holiness were trampled upon. When monks and laypeople protested
about the actions of the work team and called for His Holiness
to return to Tibet, troops fired into the crowd, killing 15
Tibetans including monks, a young woman, and a teenage boy.
In the Tibet Autonomous Region alone, authorities have
announced that they will try some 1,000 Tibetans by May 1.
China has virtually closed the TAR. With the exception of two
show-tours, no journalists or diplomats have secured permission
to visit the TAR since the crisis began, so these trials will
be carried out absent outside observers.
We urgently ask the international community--especially those
governments involved in rule-of-law programs with China--to insist that
the legal cases of Tibetans detained as a result of the current crisis
are considered according to international standards of due process, and
that political prisoners be treated humanely.
We welcomed the reminder yesterday in a State Department statement
that ``the intentional withholding of necessary medical treatment for
political reasons is a serious violation of human rights.''
CHINESE MISSTEPS AND TIBETAN EFFORTS TO ENGAGE
It is difficult to watch events unfolding in Tibet. I have long
warned that such a crisis could be provoked by Chinese policies such as
authorizing the Communist Party to recognize reincarnate lamas--or by
unique actions Beijing has taken--such as the abduction of the young
Panchen Lama. Friends of China knowledgeable about Tibet have cautioned
that moving progressively harshly to constrain the Tibetan Buddhist
identity while creating circumstances that facilitate the movement of
hundreds of thousands of Chinese up and onto the Tibetan plateau would
Beijing must now reverse course. Chinese leaders must look to the
underlying causes of the problems, conduct whatever housekeeping may be
necessary in their personnel and policies, and reach out to His
Holiness and the Tibetan people in the spirit of inclusion and mutual
benefit so that together we can achieve peace in Tibet.
The situation in Tibet has of course created conditions that make
our engagement with Beijing difficult. Throughout the period of crisis,
I have been using existing channels of communication with Chinese
officials to convey our urgent concerns. What I have been hearing back
is nothing but the usual rhetoric, very similar to what Chinese
Government spokespeople are saying publicly. On March 19, His Holiness,
himself, sent a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao. We continue to
make efforts to begin a discussion on a peaceful way forward. As a
first step, His Holiness has offered to send a delegation to Tibet that
we believe could ease anxiety among Tibetans and contribute to the
restoration of calm. To say, as some media have reported, that we are
in discussions with the Chinese Government is unfortunately an
overstatement of fact.
From the onset of this crisis, we have expressed our concern to
Beijing about whipping up nationalist sentiment against the Tibetan
people and His Holiness, even blaming the so-called ``Dalai clique''
for inciting the demonstrations. Such charges are baseless.
We are asking for an international impartial investigation of the
true causes which have led to the recent crisis.
His Holiness has been deeply concerned by the deep division that
has been created in the minds of the Chinese and Tibetan people within
a period of several weeks, and will likely endure for the foreseeable
future. His Holiness is deeply saddened by this, particularly because
he has made so much effort to outreach to the Chinese people on a
personal level and because he knows that real stability depends on
tolerance, mutual understanding, and peaceful coexistence.
On March 28, His Holiness issued a public appeal to the Chinese
people, reflective of his many initiatives to connect with them. Many
of these initiatives have been warmly received. We have increasingly
seen among many Chinese in and outside China, a new fascination with
the Tibetan culture, an emerging consideration for the protection of
Tibet's fragile environment, and also a kind of renaissance of Tibetan
Buddhism in China. These developments had been very encouraging.
If possible, I would like to request that the full text of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama's Appeal to the Chinese People be included as
part of the record of today's hearing.
OVERALL ISSUE OF TIBET
On the overall issue of Tibet, the position of His Holiness remains
unchanged in key areas. First, his commitment to the Middle Way is
unwavering. He is not seeking independence for Tibet but, rather,
genuine, meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people within the People's
Republic of China. Chinese law makes considerable commitments to
regional national autonomy, so there exists already a legitimate
platform for discussion. However, the prevailing system lacks legal
assurances that provisions of autonomy are not given by the state on
the one hand and taken away by the state on the other hand. This is the
crux of the problem with autonomy and why His Holiness is seeking
``genuine'' or ``meaningful'' autonomy.
Second, His Holiness is uncompromising in his commitment to
nonviolence. This is not just the core principle of the Tibetan
struggle. It is the message he carries around the world in his public
teachings. As the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, it defines
his very existence. Even at this time, His Holiness believes that the
principle of nonviolence is so essential to the Tibetan identity that
he has said repeatedly that he would disassociate himself from a
Tibetan movement that departs from a nonviolent path.
Third, His Holiness remains fully committed to a policy of
engagement with China to resolve the issue of Tibet. It is in this area
where I have the honor to serve His Holiness at chief negotiator with
the Chinese Government, a process the Tibetans have been engaged in on
an on-and-off basis since 1979. After serious efforts by us--and the
urgings of many in the international community--we were able to
reestablish a formal dialogue with Beijing in 2002. We have had six
rounds of dialogue since that time, the most recent in June/July of
2007. Those discussions have served the purpose of providing the
opportunity to build relations and convey our positions.
The Tibetan position entails a single ask--that we are able to
maintain the distinctive Tibetan identity into the future. Central to
this ask is the political right of autonomy. According to the Chinese
Government's own analysis of its law on regional ethnic autonomy, the
Tibetan people are entitled to the full political right of autonomy;
full decisionmaking power in economic and social development
undertakings; freedom to inherit and develop our traditional culture
and to practice our religious belief and freedom to administer,
protect, and be the first to utilize our natural resources, and to
independently develop our educational and cultural undertakings.
The other central point is that such autonomy must be provided to
all Tibetans living in contiguous Tibetan areas, an area roughly
defined by the geography of the Tibetan plateau, governed by a single
administrative unit under a single unified policy.
The recent tragic events in Tibet clearly demonstrate that even
though Tibetans have been divided among different provincial
administrations, they remain unified by their identity and their
aspirations. A piecemeal solution for the future of Tibet that takes
into account only the Tibetans in the TAR would not resolve the Tibet
problem. This has been tried in the past and has failed.
A WAY FORWARD
In the 4th and 5th rounds of our dialogue with the Chinese, we had
expansive discussions around these issues, and both sides came away
with a very clear understanding and a sense that we were moving
forward. However, during the 6th round, we saw a hardening of the
We cannot pretend that if our next round of discussions were held
now, it would be business as usual given the scale of the crackdown and
the fact that protests are continuing almost daily. The present
emergency situation must be resolved before we can really talk about
the future. However, if both sides are determined to find a solution
through genuine engagement--and it is my duty today to assure you that
His Holiness remains fully committed to that effort--then, we will find
a way. However, the true sentiments of the Tibetan people, evident in
the current crisis, have given both sides the clear mandate that when
we next talk, we can waste no time; rather, we must deal with the real
issues and produce results so that genuine peace is at last restored in
Therefore, we ask of those advising both sides to continue with the
dialogue process that they press the Chinese side to provide assurances
of their commitment to real and concrete progress.
We believe that China's way forward in Tibet envisages two possible
scenarios. The more hopeful scenario is that Chinese leaders realize
that, in spite of some constructive efforts to improve the lives of the
Tibetan people, many Tibetans are profoundly unhappy--and some have
even shown their unhappiness at the cost of their own lives. In this
scenario, a sensible approach would be for Beijing to commit to
constructive dialogue with His Holiness or his representatives whereby
genuine and meaningful autonomy for Tibetans and unity and stability
for the PRC are assured.
The second scenario reflects the more rigid Chinese attitude. In
this scenario the Chinese Government continues to implement repressive
measures and looks forward to a final solution where Tibet's unique
identity is subsumed and entirely assimilated into China. We might
suspect that such a policy--which would include the intensification of
the anti-Dalai Lama campaign and in-migration of Chinese settlers--
would further develop after the Beijing Olympics in August. In either
scenario we see a strong role for the international community.
On the humanitarian side, we are asking that governments engage
international human rights mechanisms--such as U.N. human rights
rapporteurs and private NGOs, like the International Committee of the
Red Cross and Doctors without Borders--in coordinated efforts to press
the Chinese Government for access to Tibet so that the immediate
suffering of the Tibetan people can be addressed.
On the political and diplomatic side, we are respectfully
requesting of all our international government contacts that they meet
with Chinese officials in discussions on remedies for the underlying
issues that have contributed to the current crisis, and urge dialogue.
We have been encouraged by the active engagement of many countries,
including the Germans, Australians, British and, particularly, the
French in this regard. Even, India and Japan, who have sensitive
relations with China, have felt the need to speak out by calling for
restraint and dialogue. Just last week, the Japanese Prime Minister
challenged the Chinese Foreign Minister's attempt to characterize Tibet
as a domestic issue, saying that China had to ``face the fact that
Tibet had become an international problem.''
In stark contrast, the Government of Nepal, which shares a long
history with Tibet, has behaved in a most reprehensible manner,
cracking down on Tibetans who live in Nepal and have been protesting in
solidarity with the brothers and sisters inside Tibet. Nepal is acting
almost as an extension of the brutal regime on the other side of the
Himalayas, a reaction that has many Nepalese deeply disturbed and
ashamed for their government.
I would like to close my testimony by mentioning the recent passing
of Julia Taft who served the United States in many capacities,
including as the second Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues,
appointed by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Julia was an
extraordinary friend of Tibet and would have been a powerful advocate
in this time of crisis.
Senator Boxer. Thank you, Mr. Gyari.
I am very touched by your testimony. And I really do
appreciate the fact that you believe these types of hearings
can be very helpful.
You know, many, many years ago, I was involved in the issue
of human rights in the former Soviet Union, and I was very
fearful, at first, to shine the light on what was happening,
because I thought it would lead to more abuse of the people
there. And I was really taught, by the very people who were
suffering, that I was wrong, that you must shine the light of
truth on these matters. And I think that's key. One of the many
things that I am very concerned about is the fact that the
Chinese Government keeps saying that the Dalai Lama wants
independence, and that he fans the flames of hatred among the
Chinese toward those in the Tibet region.
And I guess I need to ask you: How can we help on this? I
mean, one PRC official said, ``The Lhasa incident has once more
exposed the separatist essence and the hypocrisy and
deceitfulness of the alleged peace and nonviolence of the Dalai
Clique.'' And, you know, meanwhile, the Dalai Lama is saying,
``We need to find a peaceful and mutually beneficial
solution.'' He has no desire to seek Tibet separation. And yet,
the PRC puts out these very inflammatory statements.
And I guess my question--because it worries me--is: Is this
going to lead to the Chinese people just getting very worked up
and upset at those from the Tibet region? Do you see this as
something that is happening now, that they're spreading this
nontruth about what the Dalai Lama has done, and they're saying
he's responsible for this--are you worried about----
Mr. Gere. Oh, yes.
Senator Boxer [continuing]. The impact? And how can we get
the truth out?
Mr. Gyari. We are very much worried. In fact, to cover the
wrong policies of the Chinese Government, I think the Chinese
Government is playing a very dangerous game, and, in fact, I
think it is a very unpatriotic--if I can use that term--of
making this into almost a ethnic conflict between----
Senator Boxer. Yes.
Mr. Gyari [continuing]. The Chinese and Tibetans, which I
think us unpardonable, because China talks about, you know,
harmonious society. On the other hand, you see the Chinese
Government deliberately creating this rift between the Tibetans
Well, I do not know what we can do to--you know, but as far
as we're concerned--especially, His Holiness, is making so much
effort in the last few weeks. One of his main focuses has been
trying to reach out. He's been writing to the Chinese people.
Tomorrow, he will make exclusive, again, appeal to Chinese
Buddhists and other, you know, people who believe in the
religion, explaining to them, asking their help, so that the
Chinese Government do not create this rift, you know, between
the peoples, which I think will be, you know, as I said, you
know, we are very much worried, and, you know--but, you know,
we are doing what we can, and we certainly also need to help
Now, about the--as I said, I think, unfortunate policy of
Chinese Government, not his Holiness. He made it very clear
that he is not seeking independence. Even now, under such
difficult circumstances, he's repeating, every day, you know,
many times, that he is not seeking independence, that he's
looking for solution within the framework of the People's
Republic of China.
Senator Boxer. Well, let the word go out from this
committee that we--we're very concerned, and we expressed our
concern to the Chinese Government, that the way to resolve this
is through peaceful means and sitting around the table and
working it out, not by inflaming passions and, you know,
spreading violence. It would be terrible.
So, I have one last question for you. It's my
understanding--am I right on this?--that China has sealed off
the Friendship Bridge. Is that correct? Is the Friendship
Bridge still sealed off?
Mr. Gyari. Yes. Not only that, you know, one of the things
that really worries us is that China has made the Nepal almost
an extension of the PRC. You know, not only they have a--but we
know, or we have information, that the Chinese officials have
been very, you know, casually crossing over to the Nepal side,
Senator Boxer. But, is it true that the bridge has been
sealed off? Because the Associated Press says that it's sealed
off and that no refugees have arrived at the U.N.-run Tibetan
Reception Center in Katmandu. Normally 200 to 250 flee Tibet
each month. So, is--I'm just trying--because, since I'm going
to come up with this list of six or seven action items, I guess
I want to know, is that bridge still closed?
Mr. Gyari. It is closed.
Senator Boxer [continuing]. As far as you----
Mr. Gyari. In fact, you know, we were speaking with the
person--you know, our city has a staff there. There's only,
now, about three or four people at the Refugee Settlement
Center, where we normally have several hundred at this time of
Senator Boxer. OK.
Mr. Gyari. So, the Chinese have sealed up the borders, and
they are flooding Tibet with armed personnel. So, this is the
Senator Boxer. Very, very, very worrisome.
Well, I want to thank you so much, sir. You have been a
very important witness.
And I'll ask Senator Murkowski to finish up this panel with
5 minutes or whatever she needs.
Senator Murkowski. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Senator Boxer. Seven is fine.
Senator Murkowski. And thank you, Mr. Gyari. Your testimony
was very compelling this afternoon. I certainly appreciate your
words about the difficulty and the struggle to maintain a
policy of nonviolence. Your very personal stories are really,
again, very, very compelling.
I will tell you, listening to the responses from Secretary
Negroponte, understanding Undersecretary Dobriansky's comments
that she has made in her op-ed about--a recognition that the
preconditions, as she terms them--the preconditions for
dialogue that China has called on, that China has asked for,
have been met. And I think that they understand that those have
been met. And yet, they must find other areas where there is
disagreement so that they don't have to engage in that
dialogue. And your very specific examples of how, even what
might be considered a small act, denying a Tibetan citizen the
opportunity to check into a hotel, for instance, can increase
the tension--and you used the term ``ethnic conflict'' that is
being built in China through incidents just such as that; or
whether it's the issuance of passports--you're treating your
citizens differently, depending on where they are coming from.
And if you want to further inflame ethnic conflict, you, kind
of, build up through smaller incidents like this and hope
others on the outside don't notice. So, I think the record
should reflect that we're noticing.
I wanted to ask you, during the Dalai Lama's recent visit
to the United States, he had noted that there had been some
contact at that time between Chinese officials and his
representatives through some back-channel means shortly after
the initial protests. Can you elaborate a little bit on what
these contacts may have been and if, in fact, they have yielded
Mr. Gyari. Thank you very much, Senator.
First of all, I was very happy to see Paula Dobriansky's
opinion piece. She and I went together to meet with His
Holiness that very day. And I think that reflects the policy of
the present, you know, administration.
Answering specifically to your question, His Holiness is
referring to the contact, that I mentioned, with my
counterparts, as I mentioned earlier, as early as 19th of
March, you know, just, you know, almost, you know, a week after
the situation. You know, we got in touch with them. I am in
touch with them. But, unfortunately, at the present moment what
is coming through that channel is more rhetoric than anything
constructive. But, we are mentioning those connections. There
has been, I think, a little bit exaggerated report in the
section of the media, as if, you know, these contacts are
bringing some results. But, I must, you know, disappoint you
all to say that so far it is bringing no concrete result.
But, we are mentioning those contacts. We will mention
those contacts, because we do consider those contacts very
Senator Murkowski. Of the action items that Chairman Boxer
mentioned, whether it is, you know, encouraging President Bush
to visit Tibet when he is in China for the Olympics, any of the
other action items that she mentioned, the consulate in Lhasa,
what would you consider to be the most significant action item
that we could take?
Mr. Gyari. Most important, you know, I think, is the one
that you also have on the top of your list, is U.S. diplomatic
presence in Lhasa. I think the recent, you know, situation has
proven beyond doubt that the lack of diplomatic access on the
plateau is one of the reasons, to be very frank today, even the
Secretary, you know, was unable to provide you with as much
information that you wanted, and neither do we have that. So, I
think, you know, I would say that among the list, you know, all
of them are very important, but the most important, I would
say, and besides, as part of your Tibetan Policy Act--in fact,
I think the administration is obligated to not only act on
that, but really put it on high priority, because it has been
there for several years. You know, I really do hope that, as
one your colleagues had alluded, that with the Chinese, not
only you said that you want that, but, you know, unless you get
your consulate in Lhasa, she will not get any consulates, that,
you know, she would like to have in your country, you know, for
all kind of economic and other access which China is, you know,
very much after.
Senator Murkowski. Thank you. I appreciate that.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Senator Boxer. Senator Murkowski, that was an excellent
question, and I think what you brought out is that having eyes
and ears on the ground is so crucial, because there's so much
disinformation. And it's a dangerous situation, with the
shutting off of the bridge so you can't even find out what's
So, I just want to thank you so very much, sir----
Mr. Gyari. Thank you very much.
Senator Boxer [continuing]. Mr. Gyari, and we'll----
Mr. Gyari. Thank you very much.
Senator Boxer [continuing]. Work closely with you----
Mr. Gyari. Thank you very much.
Senator Boxer [continuing]. As we move forward.
And now we'd ask our final panel, Mr. Steve Marshall,
senior advisor, Congressional-Executive Commission on China,
Dr. Lobsang Sangay, senior fellow, East Asian Legal Studies, to
Senator Boxer. Gentlemen, I understand you've been told 5
minutes, and we'll give you 6, in case you want to slow down a
little bit. So, each of you will have 6 minutes, and we'll
start with Mr. Steve Marshall, senior advisor, Congressional-
Executive Commission on China, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Marshall, welcome.
STATEMENT OF STEVE MARSHALL, SENIOR ADVISOR, CONGRESSIONAL-
EXECUTIVE COMMISSION ON CHINA, WASHINGTON, DC
Mr. Marshall. Chairman Boxer and members of the committee,
thank you very much for the opportunity to testify here today
on the events in the Tibetan areas of China and on the
prospects for peace.
My experience on the Tibetan Plateau began in the mid-
1980s, and I've visited many of the areas, townships, and
monasteries where the protests and crackdowns are taking place.
I witnessed, at close range, the events in 1989 that led to
martial law in Lhasa. I know that Tibetans are facing very
The cascade of Tibetan protests began in Lhasa on March 10,
2008. By the end of March, it had swept across much of the
ethnic-Tibetan area of China. Except for periods of armed
conflict between Tibetan and Chinese forces, and periods of
politically driven social chaos, no Chinese Government has been
confronted by an upsurge of Tibetan discontent as widely
dispersed, sustained, and popular since the Chinese Communist
Party established the People's Republic of China in 1949.
Chinese public security forces, mainly the People's Armed
Police, moved swiftly to establish lockdowns in each protest
site. As of today, the situation in Tibetan protest areas is as
grim as it is fluid, and it will negatively impact tens of
thousands of Tibetans. Chinese security forces and government
authorities are sealing off protest areas, cutting
communications networks, and confiscating communications
equipment, including mobile phones and computers. As a result,
the information flow today is much less now than it was a few
weeks ago. Unconfirmed reports tell of severe abuse and
maltreatment to detainees, including inadequate food and water,
severe overcrowding, and beating. The authorities have
reportedly transferred substantial numbers of detainees away
from their areas of residence, often to locations unknown to
Very little information is available about the legal
process facing thousands of detained Tibetans. Aggressive
implementation of political indoctrination campaigns is
following swiftly in the wake of crushed protest. Reports are
emerging of anger at the new campaigns by monks who refuse to
comply with official demands to condemn the Dalai Lama. A
second wave of detentions is taking shape. Authorities compel
ordinary Tibetans to assembly publicly, denounce the Dalai
Lama, and state that he was behind the protest and riot
A number of issues led to and result from this crisis. Two
key factors distinguish the current protest from those of March
1959 in Lhasa and from the March 1989 protests and rioting that
led to martial law in Lhasa.
First, the 2008 protests have spread far beyond Lhasa in
the Tibet Autonomous Region, and into Tibetan Autonomous
Prefectures located in Qinghai, Gansu, and Sichuan Provinces.
Second, the protesters have continued to persevere, even as
Chinese security forces established and tightened lockdowns.
The total of official acknowledged detentions is rising
steeply, but the official figures reflect only the fraction of
protests that Chinese officials wish for observers to see. The
actual numbers are far higher.
Officials have released no information at all about the
actions of security forces against Tibetan protesters in more
than 40 of the counties where peaceful protests have reportedly
The Chinese leadership chose to blame the Dalai Lama for
the protests and for the resulting pre-Olympics news reporting
that has been critical of China. At the same time, they chose
not to acknowledge Tibetan dissatisfaction with policies that
have not delivered the rights and freedoms nominally protected
under China's constitution and legal system.
Are there Tibetans in exile who set out to encourage
protest activity in the runup to the Olympics? Yes, there are.
But Chinese officials have provided no evidence at all that
links the Dalai Lama to such objectives and activities.
Chinese officials are also blaming the Dalai Lama for
Tibetan violence during rioting in Lhasa and in other
locations. They do so by seeking to hold him personally
accountable for the views of individuals and groups in what
Chinese authorities call the ``Dalai Clique.''
Are there Tibetans in exile who acknowledge interest in a
violent struggle for Tibetan independence and who have
encouraged destructive action in China during the pre-Olympic
period? Yes, there are. But the Dalai Lama's actions and his
public statements and his consistently pacifist counsel to
Tibetans, wherever they live, place him at odds with violent
intentions and actions.
China's policies toward Tibetans have been the root case of
protests and riots. There is no credible evidence to support
Chinese government claims that the Dalai Lama or the ``Dalai
Clique'' manipulated Tibetans into protesting and rioting.
Communist Party power over China's legislative and
regulatory process allows the government virtually unlimited
ability to oppose unpopular programs among Tibetans. The
function and legitimacy of Tibetan Buddhism has been especially
hard hit since 2005. Tibetan protestors and their widespread
calls for Tibetan independence have provided an unprecedented
referendum on China's autonomy system. Weak implementation of
the regional ethnic autonomy law is a principal factor
preventing Tibetans from protecting their culture, language,
and religion. The Chinese leadership's refusal to recognize the
role of Chinese policy in driving Tibetan discontent, and their
insistence on blaming the Dalai Lama, puts the Chinese
leadership in an increasingly risky position.
Senator Boxer. OK, I'm going to ask you to----
Mr. Marshall. Thirty seconds. Fifteen seconds?
Senator Boxer. Yes. You can have 30.
Mr. Marshall. Tibetans will not accept a Chinese-appointed
replacement of the 14th Dalai Lama. There is no reason at all
to suppose that Tibetans will come to terms with Chinese
policies. To assert otherwise, as Chinese do, is a gross
miscalculation that could lead to local and regional security
being put at heightened risk for decades to come. There can be
no prospect for a durable resolution to the current crisis
unless the Chinese Government implements an ethnic autonomy
system that respects the rights of ethnic minorities to manage
their own affairs and that engages the Dalai Lama in that
Thank you, Chairman Boxer.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Marshall follows:]
Prepared Statement of Steven Marshall, Senior Advisor and Prisoner
Database Program Director, Congressional-Executive Commission on China,
Chairman Boxer and members of the committee, thank you for the
opportunity to testify today on the events in the Tibetan areas of
China, and on the prospects for ``peace.''
My experience on the Tibetan plateau dates to the mid-1980s, and I
have visited many of the areas, towns, and monasteries where today's
protests and crackdown are unfolding. I witnessed at close range the
events of 1989 that led to martial law in Lhasa. I know that Tibetans
are facing very serious consequences.
The cascade of Tibetan protests began in Lhasa on March 10, 2008,
then, by the end of March, had swept across much of the ethnic Tibetan
area of China. Except for periods of armed conflict between Tibetan and
Chinese Armed Forces and periods of politically driven social chaos, no
Chinese Government has been confronted by an upsurge of Tibetan
discontent as widely dispersed, sustained, and popular since the
Chinese Communist Party established the People's Republic of China in
1949. Chinese public security forces, principally the People's Armed
Police (PAP), moved swiftly to establish lockdowns in each protest
As of today, the situation in Tibetan protest areas is as grim as
it is fluid, and will negatively impact tens of thousands of Tibetans.
Chinese security forces and government authorities are sealing off
protest areas, cutting communications networks and confiscating
communications equipment (including mobile phones and computers). As a
result, the flow of information from protest areas is much less now
than it was weeks ago. Unconfirmed reports tell of severe abuse and
maltreatment to detainees--beating, inadequate food and water, and
severe overcrowding. Authorities reportedly have transferred
substantial numbers of detainees away from their areas of residence,
often to locations unknown to their families. Very little information
is available about the legal process facing thousands of detained
Tibetans. Aggressive reimplementation of political indoctrination
campaigns is following swiftly in the wake of crushed protests. Reports
are emerging of anger at the new campaigns by monks who refuse to
comply with demands to condemn the Dalai Lama. A second wave of
detentions is taking shape. Authorities compel ordinary Tibetans to
assemble publicly, denounce the Dalai Lama, and state that he was
behind the protest and riot activity.
A number of issues led to and result from this crisis.
Two key factors distinguish the current protests from the
March 1959 Lhasa uprising and the March 1989 protests and
rioting that led to martial law in Lhasa. First, the 2008
protests have spread far beyond Lhasa and the Tibet Autonomous
Region (TAR), and into Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures (TAPs) in
Qinghai, Gansu, and Sichuan provinces. Second, the protestors
have continued to persevere even as Chinese security forces
established and tightened lockdowns.
The total of officially acknowledged detentions is rising
steeply--but the official figures reflect only the fraction of
protests and resultant detentions that Chinese officials wish
for observers to see. The actual numbers are far higher.
Officials have released no information about the actions of
security forces against Tibetan protestors in more than 40 of
the counties where peaceful protests reportedly took place.
The Chinese leadership chose to blame the Dalai Lama for the
protests and for the resulting pre-Olympics news reporting
critical of China. At the same time, they chose not to
acknowledge Tibetan dissatisfaction with policies that have not
delivered the rights and freedoms nominally protected under
China's Constitution and legal system. Are there Tibetans in
exile who set out to encourage protest activity in the runup to
the Olympics? Yes, there are; but Chinese officials have
provided no evidence that links the Dalai Lama directly to such
objectives and activities.
Chinese officials also blame the Dalai Lama for Tibetan
violence during rioting in Lhasa and in other locations. They
do so by seeking to hold him accountable for the views of
individuals and groups in what Chinese authorities call ``the
Dalai clique.'' Are there Tibetans in exile who acknowledge
interest in a violent struggle for Tibetan independence, and
who have encouraged destructive action in China during the pre-
Olympic period? Yes, there are; but the Dalai Lama's actions
and public statements, and his consistently pacifist counsel to
Tibetans--wherever they live--place him at odds with violent
intentions and actions.
China's policies toward Tibetans have been the root cause of
the protests and riots. There is no credible evidence to
support Chinese Government claims that the Dalai Lama (or ``the
Dalai clique'') manipulated Tibetans into protesting and
rioting. Communist Party power over China's legislative and
regulatory process allows the government virtually unlimited
ability to impose unpopular programs among Tibetans. The
function and legitimacy of Tibetan Buddhism has been especially
hard-hit since 2005.
Tibetan protestors, in their widespread calls for Tibetan
independence, have provided an unprecedented referendum on
China's autonomy system. Weak implementation of the Regional
Ethnic Autonomy Law is a principal factor preventing Tibetans
from protecting their culture, language, and religion. The
Chinese leadership's refusal to recognize the role of Chinese
policy in driving Tibetan discontent, and their insistence on
blaming the Dalai Lama, puts the leadership in an increasingly
Tibetans will not accept a Chinese-appointed replacement of
the 14th Dalai Lama nor is there any reason to suppose that
they will come to terms with Chinese policies. To assert
otherwise, as the Chinese do, is a gross miscalculation that
could place local and regional security at heightened risk for
decades to come. There can be no prospect for a durable
resolution to the current crisis unless the Chinese Government
implements an ethnic autonomy system that respects the right of
ethnic minorities to manage their own affairs, and engages the
Dalai Lama in that process.
The surge of events began on the anniversary of the date in 1959
when the 14th Dalai Lama fled People's Liberation Army artillery shells
and escaped into exile. When Tibetans learned of their loss, the result
was the 1959 Lhasa Uprising. Forty-nine years later, 300 monks of
Drepung Monastery attempted to walk to the center of Lhasa, the capital
of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Their protest march was the
largest by orders of magnitude since the current period of Tibetan
dissent began in 1987. Security forces halted the monks and turned them
back. Hundreds of Sera Monastery monks made a similar attempt the next
day and were blocked by security forces. On March 14 a protest in
Lhasa's Tibetan quarter turned into a riot that PAP let go unchecked
for most of the day. The level of destruction and loss of life
surpassed that of the March 1989 Lhasa riots, when President Hu Jintao
served as the TAR Party Secretary, and authorities did not put a
decisive end to the events until midnight of the third day, when the
PLA marched into Lhasa and initiated 14 months of martial law.
The dispersal and persistence of protests even as PAP established
and maintained lockdowns distinguishes the 2008 events from those of
1989 and 1959, and makes them more significant. By early April,
unofficial sources reported Tibetan protests in more than 50 county-
level administrative areas. Nearly two-thirds of the counties are
located outside the TAR in Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures (TAPs) that
the Chinese Government established in Qinghai, Gansu, and Sichuan
provinces. The scale of popular participation tests China's assertion
that the protests are the result of instigation by ``a small handful''
of supporters of ``the Dalai clique.'' Most protests and protestors
were peaceful, according to unofficial accounts, but in some locations
(Lhasa, Aba county in Sichuan, and several counties in Gannan TAP in
Gansu) Tibetans attacked government offices, private businesses, and
citizens. China's state-run media has focused exclusively on such
incidents, broadly characterizing the protests as ``riots'' and the
protestors as ``rioters''--a troubling signal that authorities may seek
to mask prosecution of peaceful protestors who exercised their basic
human rights as justifiable state action against violent criminals. The
Tibetan Government-in-exile and some advocacy groups, on the other
hand, have sometimes described as ``peaceful protests'' those events
during which Tibetans caused property damage and personal injury.
The totals of officially acknowledged detainees are rising steeply,
but international onlookers are glimpsing only the incidents and
consequences that Chinese officials wish for them to see. In the nine
counties where authorities have reported rioting on specific dates
between March 14 and March 19, the protests resulted by early April in
more than 20 fatalities caused by Tibetan rioters and more than 4,400
persons in police custody after they surrendered voluntarily for
participating in rioting or were detained by police for doing so. At
least half of the 4,400 persons had been released by early April,
according to official reports.
In more than 40 of the counties where such protests reportedly
occurred, Chinese officials have provided no information about the
actions of security forces against peaceful Tibetan protestors.
Authorities took measures to prevent Tibetans from sharing information
about the protests and their consequences including confiscating cell
phones and computers in lockdown locations, turning off cellular
transmission facilities, and interfering with Internet access,
according to unofficial accounts. International journalists and foreign
journalists have been barred from entering Tibetan areas. Based on
fragmentary, unconfirmed reports, the protests have resulted in more
than 140 deaths of Tibetan protestors and an additional number of
Tibetans detained for peaceful protesting estimated to number in the
Faced with a choice between blaming the protests on the Dalai Lama,
or acknowledging acute Tibetan dissatisfaction with policies that do
not deliver the rights and freedoms nominally protected under China's
Constitution and legal system, the Chinese leadership blamed the Dalai
Lama. Even as protests continued to pop up in secured areas, the Party-
state apparatus moved to restore ``stability'' by reasserting and
strengthening the very policies that stoked Tibetan frustration in the
first place. In the most ferocious attack on the Dalai Lama since
China's era of economic reform began in 1978, TAR Party Secretary Zhang
Qingli, a Hu Jintao protege who like his mentor served the Communist
Youth League and gained field experience in Gansu province, described
the Dalai Lama as ``an evil spirit with a human face and the heart of a
beast.'' Aggressive campaigns of ``patriotic education'' spread through
counties where Tibetans had in previous days and weeks used protests to
reject the tenets of Party-led indoctrination. Officials confronted
monks, nuns, students, farmers, and nomads with demands to sign or
thumbprint statements denouncing the Dalai Lama, accept as legitimate
the Panchen Lama installed by the Chinese Government in 1995 (instead
of Gedun Choekyi Nyima, the boy whom the Dalai Lama recognized as the
Panchen Lama), and agree that Tibet has been for centuries a part of
There are Tibetans in exile who set out to encourage protest
activity by Tibetans in China in the runup to the Olympics, but Chinese
officials have provided no evidence that links the Dalai Lama directly
to such objectives or activities. Nonetheless, the Chinese Government
holds the Dalai Lama personally responsible for statements and actions
of Tibetan groups that he does not seek to control and that do not seek
to be controlled by him, that do not support the Dalai Lama's policies,
and that do not have previously demonstrated capacity to exert
significant influence on events in the Tibetan areas of China. China's
Ministry of Public Security (MPS) presented in an April 2 Xinhua report
``evidence'' that ``the Dalai clique''--and by extension the Dalai
Lama--``masterminded'' the March 14 riots in Lhasa, a charge that the
government later expanded to include Tibetan rioting in other provinces
on other dates. All of the alleged events that the MPS characterized as
evidence applied to persons and groups that the report refers to
collectively as ``the Dalai clique.'' None of the alleged events that
the MPS characterized as evidence showed a direct link to the Dalai
MPS ``evidence'' linking the Dalai Lama to the protests and riots
focused principally on the Tibetan People's Uprising Movement (TPUM,
uprising.org), an alliance formed in January 2008 of five India-based
Tibetan groups, chief among them the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC).
TPUM's Web site states that the groups aim to ``revive the spirit of
the Tibetan national uprising of 1959'' and to ``seize the Olympic
spotlight and shine it on China's shameful repression inside Tibet.''
The groups seek Tibetan independence and reject the Dalai Lama's Middle
Way Approach to accept Tibetan ``genuine autonomy'' under Chinese
sovereignty. TYC President Tsewang Rigzin told the Wall Street Journal
on March 20 that he disagrees with the Dalai Lama's policy and
observed, ``I don't see people out on the streets protesting for a
`Middle Way.' ''
There are also Tibetans in exile who acknowledge Tibetan interest
in a violent struggle for Tibetan independence, and who have encouraged
destructive action in China during the pre-Olympic period, but the
Dalai Lama's longstanding policy of nonviolence, and his consistently
pacifist counsel to Tibetans, place him at odds with any such
intention. Then-TYC President Kalsang Phuntsok said in December 2005
that some TYC members are attracted to ``violence-infested movements,''
such as those in the Middle East, that they see ``achieving results''
(Reuters, December 29). In February 2007, former TYC President Lhasang
Tsering told approximately 200 Tibetans attending a public forum in
India that the Olympics provide an opportunity to sabotage public
infrastructure in China during an Olympic countdown when Chinese
officials ``most need to be well-behaved.'' Likening Tibetan activists
to ``mosquitoes who barge into bedrooms bringing in epidemics,'' he
told the attendees, ``For a committed activist you don't need CIA's
support to cut a telephone line in Beijing or throw an iron rod on the
power cables in Shanghai. These kinds of sabotages can be done by any
ordinary person, and can weaken the power from inside. Sometimes the
whole city goes dark by one simple but technically correct act.''
(http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=15653). The Dalai Lama, on
the other hand, has repeatedly urged Tibetans to refrain entirely from
violence. On April 6, he called on Tibetans living in exile to ``not
engage in any action that could be even remotely interpreted as
The Chinese Government has not provided a convincing argument that
the Dalai Lama (or ``the Dalai clique'') manipulated Tibetans into
protesting and rioting--instead, credible analysis supports the
observation that China's policies toward Tibetans resulted in such
actions. Increasing Tibetan resentment against Chinese policies that
impact diverse areas of Tibetan life--religious and economic, urban and
pastoral--sheds light on why monks, townsfolk, and nomads risked
participating in protests across a wide swath of the Tibetan plateau.
The function and legitimacy of Tibetan Buddhism--the core of
Tibetan culture--has been especially hard-hit since 2005. New legal
measures closely regulating monastic life in the TAR took effect in
January 2007. Nationwide measures establishing state supervision of the
centuries-old Tibetan tradition of identifying, seating, and educating
boys whom Tibetans believe are reincarnations of Buddhist teachers took
effect last September. The government can use such legal measures to
remold Tibetan Buddhism to suit the state. The anti-Dalai Lama and
patriotic education campaigns antagonize Tibetans in general, but they
are especially harmful to Tibetans who regard the Dalai Lama, in his
capacity as the spiritual leader of the Gelug tradition of Tibetan
Buddhism, as their guide on the Buddhist path toward enlightenment.
Zhang Qingli, since his arrival in the TAR in November 2005, has raised
the Party's attack against the Dalai Lama to a post-Cultural Revolution
The Qinghai-Tibet railway, a premier project of Great Western
Development program, entered service in July 2006 and is reconfiguring
the economic and employment outlook for Tibetans in Lhasa and nearby
urban centers. Based on Congressional-Executive Commission on China
analysis of fragmentary and sometimes contradictory official
information, more than a half million railway passengers, most of whom
are likely to be ethnic Han, may have traveled during to the TAR during
the first 18 months of operation to seek work, trade, and business
opportunities. The railway's impact could overwhelm Tibetans and
sharply increase pressure on the Tibetan culture. Another state-run
program to settle Tibetan nomads into compact communities is nearing
completion throughout Tibetan areas, and has resulted in severe
disruption to an important sector of the Tibetan culture and economy.
Nomads have participated in the recent protests in substantial numbers,
placing some counties on the protest map for the first time since 1987.
Communist Party control over China's legislative, governmental, and
policymaking process, as well as contradictory provisions in Chinese
laws and regulations, support the government's unrestricted ability to
implement unpopular programs among Tibetans. A core failure of the
legal framework is the weak implementation of China's Regional Ethnic
Autonomy Law (REAL), the state's principal legal instrument for
managing the affairs of ethnic minorities. The REAL declares in its
Preamble that the practice of autonomy conveys the state's ``full
respect for and guarantee of ethnic minorities' right to administer
their internal affairs.'' In practice, the right of Tibetans to protect
their culture, language, and religion, and to manage policy
implementation on issues such as economic development and the
environment, is extremely circumscribed, if not negligible. Instead,
the government prioritizes economic development programs that drive
economic growth at a brisk rate, such as Great Western Development, but
the Han population benefits disproportionately because much of the
funding is channeled into infrastructure construction and urban
Tibetan protestors, in their widespread calls for Tibetan
independence, have provided an unprecedented referendum on China's
autonomy system. Did they speak for the Tibetan majority who kept
silent (and safe)? In a society without a free press, and in which
opposition to Party policy can lead to imprisonment, no one can know
for certain. By systematically failing to implement the REAL's core
commitment to allow ethnic minorities to run their own internal
affairs, the Party has demonstrated to Tibetans that their cultural
outlook under the status quo is bleak. Ironically, the Party has
undercut the Dalai Lama's campaign to persuade Tibetans to set aside
the goal of independence and instead accept ``genuine autonomy'' under
Chinese sovereignty. Many believe the Dalai Lama is the only person
sufficiently influential among Tibetans to prove himself a decisive
factor in working with the Chinese leadership to transform ethnic
autonomy into an enduring success.
The Chinese leadership's refusal to recognize the role of Chinese
policy in driving Tibetan discontent, and their insistence on blaming
the Dalai Lama, places the leadership in an increasingly risky
position. If the leadership were to take advantage of the Dalai Lama's
offer to help lead Tibetans toward compromise, then hard-liners would
cast it as capitulation. In such circumstances, the leadership would
recoil and back away from compromise in an attempt to preserve its
power unchallenged. Instead, the Party has signaled that it may wait
for the Dalai Lama to pass away, calculating perhaps that when the
Dalai Lama's life comes to end, so will the issues that China
associates with him. The Chinese Government will use the legal measures
that it has already issued to supervise the selection of a new Dalai
Lama, and pressure Tibetans to express their acceptance of the matter.
Eventually, the government may hope, Tibetans will leave the 14th Dalai
Lama in the past.
If the leadership believes that Tibetans will accept a Chinese-
appointed replacement of the 14th Dalai Lama and come to terms with
Chinese policies, it could prove to be a miscalculation that places
local and regional security at heightened risk for decades to come. As
the impact of Chinese legal measures and policies continue to diminish
the core elements of Tibetan culture--religion, language, and self-
identity--the Dalai Lama installed by China will grow from boyhood to
maturity and into old age. Many Tibetans may see in him a provocative
symbol of Tibetan loss and humiliation, promoting deepening of Tibetan
resentment. The recent protests, spread throughout a vast area beyond
Lhasa, answered by a military-style response and intensification of the
policies that fueled the eruption in the first place, may have already
sewn the seeds for what someday could become the next generation of
The prospect for a mutually beneficial and durable outcome could
decline from poor to virtually nonexistent unless the Chinese
Government resolves to fully implement the ethnic autonomy system, and
to engage the Dalai Lama in that process. If Chinese and Tibetans--
along with their friends, neighbors, and partners--see in the current
wave of Tibetan protests a daunting challenge, then each side should
contemplate the potential outcome during a future scenario in which the
14th Dalai Lama may no longer be available to urge Tibetans to back
away from violence. Will a future Chinese President be able to explain
persuasively to China's citizens why the leadership failed to meet with
the Dalai Lama when they had the opportunity? The current Chinese
leadership would do well to ask themselves the following question: Will
a future Chinese President believe that a persuasive explanation even
Chairman Boxer, the staff of the Congressional-Executive Commission
on China has prepared a list of concrete recommendations to address the
current crisis. I would ask that this list be submitted for the record
for the committee's consideration:
1. Commence direct talks between the Chinese Government and
the Dalai Lama;
2. Distinguish between peaceful protestors and rioters, honor
the Chinese Constitution's reference to the freedoms of speech
and association, and do not treat peaceful protest as a crime;
3. Provide a detailed account of Tibetan protest activity in
each location where such activity took place;
4. Provide details about each person detained or charged with
a crime, including each person's name, the charges (if any)
against each person, the name and location of the prosecuting
office (``procuratorate'') and court handling each case, and
the name of each facility where a person is detained or
5. Allow access by diplomats and other international
observers to the trials of people charged with protest-related
6. Allow international observers and journalists immediate
and unfettered access to Tibetan areas of China;
7. Ensure that security officials fulfill their obligations
under articles 64(2) and 71(2) of China's Criminal Procedure
Law to inform relatives and work places (monasteries in the
case of monks) where detainees are being held;
8. Encourage and facilitate the filing of compensation suits
under Chinese law in cases of alleged wrongful arrest,
detention, punishment and other official abuses during the
9. Permit international observers to monitor closely the
implementation of China's new Regulation on Open Government
Information, which comes into force on May 1, 2008, with
special emphasis on implementation in Tibetan areas;
10. Strictly enforce the Regulations on Reporting Activities
in China by Foreign Journalists During the Beijing Olympic
Games and the Preparatory Period, with special emphasis on
access to and in Tibetan areas of China.
The Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) invites
members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Members of Congress,
and the global Internet public to visit the Commission's Web site
(http://www.cecc.gov) for additional information and updates on the
unfolding events in the Tibetan areas in China. Please visit the
Commission's Political Prisoner Database via a link on the CECC home
page or at http://ppd.cecc.gov for information about Tibetans and other
Chinese citizens detained or imprisoned for exercising their human
Senator Boxer. Thank you so very much.
And then, last, but certainly not least, we welcome you,
Dr. Lobsang Sangay. You have been very patient. Senior fellow,
East Asian Legal Studies Program at Harvard University Law
And I just want to thank both of you, in this panel, for
We look forward to your testimony.
STATEMENT OF LOBSANG SANGAY, SENIOR FELLOW, EAST ASIAN LEGAL
STUDIES PROGRAM, HARVARD UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL, CAMBRIDGE, MA
Dr. Sangay. Thank you, Madam Chairperson--Senator Boxer,
and members of the subcommittee, for the honor of speaking
before you today.
I also appreciate the Senate's strong support for Tibet;
specifically, Senate's letter to President Hu Jintao and the
Senate's Resolution on Tibet, passed recently. You have
demonstrated your leadership, and the convening of this hearing
attests to your commitment to end the crisis in Tibet.
I also agree with our Special Envoy, Lodi Gyari, that the
recent uprising in Tibet is a failure of 50 years of Chinese
Government occupation and misrule in Tibet. Like him, my family
also suffered great deal. One of my aunts was pregnant and had
to jump into river with an infant in her hand, because she
found the weekly humiliation too much to bear. And my uncle
also died of hunger in prison. So, in that sense, nonviolence
is tough, dialogue is tough. Having said that, I still believe
that meaningful dialogue between His Holiness the Dalai Lama
and the Chinese Government can bring a lasting solution to the
China wants to be a great nation. History has shown,
greatness cannot be bought in the marketplace and cannot be
bought with force. Greatness has to be earned.
In the last 50 years, China has transformed itself from a
poor nation to booming economy. The world is mesmerized by its
rapid modernization and economic growth. It is yet to be
determined what kind of greatness is China heading for.
The way China treats Tibet will reflect what kind of
powerful nation China becomes. The present situation presents
both a crisis and a tremendous opportunity. Now is the time for
the Chinese leadership to demonstrate, not only its strength,
but also its reason, as well as its compassion, to try to build
a harmonious society for all.
The scale and magnitude of the recent uprising in Tibet
reflects the tipping point for the Tibetan people. As is often
the case in ethnic conflict, when economic marginalization
combines with cultural assimilation and political crackdown,
you have all the elements of a potent and dangerous situation.
If the tragedy in Tibet is not at rest soon, unfortunately
the possibility of escalating tension and conflict are not a
question of ``if,'' but ``when.''
Now, what can the Senate do? As Madam Chair asked the
question--and you would like to have action plan, and I have a
suggestion. A first step would be to allow the Dalai Lama to be
seen and heard by the Chinese people.
Specifically, on March 13, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said,
on Hong Kong television, that Dalai Lama should use his
influence to end violence in Tibet. I believe the Chinese
Government should allow the Dalai Lama to respond to Premier
Wen Jiabao's call. In order for this to happen, the Chinese
Government should allow the Dalai Lama to speak directly to the
people in Tibet.
If the Chinese Government is serious and sincere, then
instead of demonizing him and blocking him out, they must allow
his voice, his image, and his message of peace, justice, and
reconciliation to reach the Chinese public directly. If the
Dalai Lama were allowed to transmit a message to Chinese media
in China to use his authority amongst Tibetan people to ensure
peace and harmony of the Olympic Torch passing through Tibet
and the Games itself, this would be a significant step forward
in dialogue. This would demonstrate to the Chinese public and
Chinese leadership the sincerity of the Dalai Lama.
Finally, I strongly believe that our first priority is to
build trust between Chinese and Tibetan people. Mutual
understanding will require both sides to take some risk.
Allowing the Dalai Lama's message to be heard inside China
would be a powerful first step.
Let me conclude by saying, in my current position at
Harvard I have worked earnestly and in good faith on
facilitating people-to-people exchanges between Chinese and
Tibetan scholars, which have led to six very productive sets of
meetings over the past 6 years. I sincerely believe dialogue is
the pathway to harmony, and I also believe it is possible.
Now is the time for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the
Chinese Government to sit down face to face and reach a lasting
and mutually agreeable solution. I pray that American
leadership, through your Senate office, will strongly support
[The prepared statement of Dr. Sangay follows:]
Prepared Statement of Dr. Lobsang Sangay, Senior Fellow, East Asian
Legal Studies Program, Harvard University Law School, Cambridge, MA
Thank you, Chairwoman Senator Boxer, and members of the
subcommittee, for the honor of speaking before you today. I applaud the
actions of the Senate during this crisis, most notably the Senate
letter to President Hu Jintao, sent on April 2, and the Senate
resolution passed on April 9 (S. Res. 504--110th Congress (2008)). You
have demonstrated your leadership, and the convening of this hearing
attests to your commitment to support a positive way forward out of the
There is now a window of opportunity for meaningful dialogue
between the two sides to find a lasting solution to the Tibet issue.
The issue will not go away, and the earlier it is addressed, the better
it will be for all.
CHINA AS A GREAT NATION
China wants to be a great nation. History has shown that greatness
cannot be bought in the marketplace. Greatness must be earned. In the
last 50 years, China has transformed itself from a poor nation to a
booming economy. The world is mesmerized by its rapid modernization and
hopes that along with its economic growth, forward strides will be made
by and for its people in all spheres, not just economic.
The way China treats Tibet will reflect what kind of great nation
China becomes. The present situation presents both a crisis, and a
tremendous opportunity--an opportunity for the Chinese Government to
demonstrate legitimacy in its leadership and confidence in its position
by sitting down to negotiate with the Dalai Lama. Now is the time for
the Chinese leadership to demonstrate not only its strength, but also
its reason and its compassion as it builds a harmonious society for
HISTORY AND NATIONALISM
For China, the building of the modern nation-state was a response
to a bitter history of Western imperialism during the late Qing Empire.
Nation-state building was an effective way to fend off further foreign
encroachment in a world dominated by Western norms of international
practices. The Chinese Government today perceives the Tibet issue from
the perspective of Chinese nationalism, but fails to understand that
Tibetans also perceive themselves as victims, or rather victimized by
former victims of Western imperialism. The inability of the Chinese
Government to move beyond the constraints of this type of nationalism
presents a huge obstacle to confronting the core issues facing the
New thinking is needed for the nation of China to continue its
evolution toward greatness. Let us be optimistic in anticipating that
in contrast to the war-ridden 20th century, the 21st century will be
dominated by themes such as globalization, interdependence, and cross-
cultural understanding and tolerance. The Dalai Lama's middle path
approach of seeking genuine autonomy within the framework of China has
substantial legitimacy in the context of China's own rich history.
A HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY
The scale and magnitude of the recent uprising in Tibet reflects a
tipping point for the critical mass of the Tibetan people. As is often
the case in ethnic conflict, when economic suffering combines with
political issues relating to identity and dignity, you have all the
elements of a potent and dangerous situation. If the tragedy in Tibet
is not addressed soon, the possibility of escalating tension and
conflict are not a question of if, but when.
China has a historic opportunity before it. As it rises to the
world stage to host the Olympic Games, now is the time for it to extend
its hand to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people to enhance its proper
place as a leader amongst nations.
A significant step would be for the Chinese Government to allow for
the normalization of the Dalai Lama within China. This is the first
step toward genuine dialogue--to allow the Dalai Lama to be seen and
heard by the Chinese people.
Specifically, the Chinese Government should allow the Dalai Lama to
respond to Premier Wen Jiabao's call for him to use his influence to
restore calm and order amongst the Tibetan people. In order for this to
happen, the Chinese Government must allow the Dalai Lama's message to
be heard inside China. Instead of attacking him and blocking him out,
they should allow his voice, his image and his message of peace,
justice, and reconciliation to reach the Chinese public directly. If
the Dalai Lama were allowed to publicly transmit a message inside
China, to use his authority amongst the Tibetan people to ensure peace
and harmony of the Olympic torch passing through Tibet, and the Games
itself, this would be a significant step forward in dialogue. It would
also demonstrate to the Chinese public, and the Chinese leadership, the
sincerity of his position. It would open up space for Chinese and
Tibetan people to work together toward a harmonious common future.
At this critical juncture, another urgent need is to enable the
Chinese and Tibetan people to have more access to the free flow of
information. Controls over access to information in China pose a
serious impediment to China's progress. Specific to Tibet, the fact
that foreign correspondents are denied access to Tibetan areas only
undermines China's own interests and position. Here, it is imperative
that we continue to do what we can to support the process of opening up
windows and channels to information, knowledge and understanding for
the mutual benefit of Tibetans, Han, and for China itself.
Finally, as a beneficiary of the Fulbright Program, which
facilitated my enrollment in Harvard Law School in 1995, I have come to
see the strategic value of academic exchanges. In my current position
at Harvard, I have worked earnestly and in good faith on facilitating
people-to-people exchanges between Chinese and Tibetan scholars which
have led to six very productive sets of meetings over the past 6 years.
Ultimately the Tibet issue has to be addressed through dialogue between
Chinese and Tibetan people.
The suggestions I have put forward here are based on one principle,
and that is that our first priority is to build trust between the two
sides. There is nothing more urgent now than to create momentum for
mutual understanding and that will require both sides to take some
political risk. The first step toward this is to allow the Dalai Lama's
message to be heard, not in the West, but inside China itself.
I pray that American leadership will actively support this
approach. Having engaged in promoting dialogue between Chinese and
Tibetan scholars for the last decade, I strongly believe dialogue is
the best way to solve the Tibet issue peacefully.
Senator Boxer. Well, I so appreciate both of your
Mr. Sangay, I'm very interested--and I think Senator
Murkowski is, as well--in what we can do to allow that kind of
communication, because a message of peace from the Dalai Lama
would go a long way, I think, to making sure that the people in
Tibet get the message and the--within the Tibet region and the
rest of China, as well. Because what is worrying me, as I said
before to Mr. Gyari, is my concern, as I read the press--and
this is just from the press, I don't know if it's true--that
there's more and more strain between those outside Tibet and
those inside Tibet. In other words, I'm fearful that the
majority of the Chinese people are, maybe, getting more hostile
toward the Tibetan people. I don't know if that's true, so
maybe that would be my question. Do you think that there--what
do you think, if you could characterize the views of the
majority of the Chinese toward the Tibetan people--would you
say that they have an attitude, as we say in America, ``Live
and let live,'' or, ``Gee, we don't understand them,'' or--what
do you think? Because we know so little about--can't find out,
really, the true public opinion. But, your sense of it, what do
the--most of the Chinese people feel toward the Tibetan people?
Dr. Sangay. Until the recent uprising, I feel most of the
Chinese were ignorant of what was going on, or they really did
not care, because, you know, Tibet is in the western region,
which is marginal in their day-to-day life.
Since the uprising, because of the Chinese Government one-
sided or overemphasis on the afternoon of 14 March riots in
Lhasa, I think it has unleashed, unfortunately, Han Chinese
chauvinism and nationalism toward Tibetan people. That has
distorted the image of Tibetan people. And that begs the
question, actually--because, on the one hand, the Chinese
Government projected Tibet and Tibetan people before the
uprising as peaceful, loving, grateful, loyal, and smiling
citizens of China. After the protests, now the Tibetans are
projected as disloyal, ungrateful thugs, vandalizers, and
killers. Now, which image is true? You know? That, I think, the
Chinese people has to ask, because they were being given one
image for the last 50 years, now they are given the other
image. I think this distortion of image calls for a need for
the Chinese people to hear His Holiness' message of peace----
Senator Boxer. Yeah.
Dr. Sangay [continuing]. Directly. And then--that's why we
propose this, because Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao himself
proposed this. He said Dalai Lama should use his influence to
end violence in----
Senator Boxer. Right.
Dr. Sangay [continuing]. Tibet.
Senator Boxer. Right
Dr. Sangay. That's the proposition. And I think the--
through the office of Senate and the U.S. leadership to respond
and say, ``Well, let Dalai Lama hear--let the Chinese people in
China and Tibetan people in Tibet hear what he has to say.''
Senator Boxer. It's a good point, because the Chinese
leadership has said that--has challenged the Dalai Lama and
said, ``Tell them to stop the rioting,'' and--which he said,
``Look, I'm not behind it.'' But, if he could address everyone,
I think that is a very, very smart recommendation, and I'm
going to discuss these recommendations with my colleague here,
and I--I hope that, perhaps, we'll put that on the list. But,
we're going to have a bipartisan action plan, and that's
certainly something I'm going to recommend. Thank you.
And, Mr. Marshall, first of all, you're very wise to have,
as one of the--I think, deputy staff director, Charlotte
Oldham-Moore, because, basically, she taught me everything I
know about this region of the world, and I miss her very much.
She used to work for me. And my loss is your gain. But, I'm
very happy to see Charlotte here, and wanted to welcome----
Mr. Marshall. We're fortunate.
Senator Boxer. I wanted to welcome her.
And this is my last question. And it is this. Mr. Marshall,
you and I are sort of on the same path of this action plan, and
you've come up with some ideas in your written testimony. And
one of them is what the international observers should do: They
should be granted access to trials, given immediate access to
the Tibetan areas of China, a couple of other things. My
question is this. Are there international observers that are
both credible and acceptable to the Government of China?
Mr. Marshall. The foreign diplomats who are already in
China would be one of the most ideal and easily available
resources, because they are allowed to attend trials and other
legally oriented events. So----
Senator Boxer. OK
Mr. Marshall [continuing]. If they were able to do this,
that would be great. Almost any international observer who is
not closely aligned with one or another----
Senator Boxer. All right.
Mr. Marshall [continuing]. Political position----
Senator Boxer. So, people who are already in the country,
that they trust. Very good.
Mr. Marshall. I believe----
Senator Boxer. No, that's very, very helpful as we come up
with this action plan.
So, I just want to thank you very much. I'll turn over, to
close, to Senator Murkowski.
Senator Murkowski. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
And my apologies to you, gentlemen, I had to step out, so I
wasn't able to hear most of your oral testimony here, but I
have had an opportunity to prepare some questions for you.
Mr. Sangay, your comments about the need for all of China
to hear from the Dalai Lama, I think, just speaks to the point
that we have made in letters, in committee, here, that there
must be greater access to the international media, greater
access to the nongovernmental organizations in the areas, so
that we can know what is truly being said, and others can know,
fully and fairly, what is being said. Most important, there.
Mr. Sangay, you have--you've said, in the past, that you
believe that--and this is your statement--``With the passing of
the Dalai Lama, Tibetans will become more radicalized.'' I'm
wondering if that is still your position, and whether or not
the events of the last few weeks have either shifted or perhaps
strengthened that view. What is happening out there, kind of,
for the future of Tibet?
Dr. Sangay. I just want to thank you, first, for accepting
our proposition, or at least my proposition. It's true, still,
the information inside China and Tibet are distorted. Radio
Free Asia and Voice of America are trying their best to
disseminate information, but it's still jammed and blocked. And
they deserve support.
Now, as for radicalization of Tibetan people, yes,
unfortunately, I do think so, because one key factor that, I
feel, is the age of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, because for
any agreement to work, time if of the essence. You need time,
not just to negotiate the deal, but it has to implement. To
effectively implement it, it takes time. And then, His Holiness
is already 73 years old. And then--that's why I think one of
the reasons of recent uprising in Tibet is because of His
Holiness. And that is made very clear by the protests and
uprising in 90-plus areas, because the universal and united
slogan of all the Tibetans, man and woman, nomads and farmers,
everybody was same thing. There was ``Long live the Dalai Lama.
We want him back. He is our leader. He should be back to the
land he was born, to the land where people are still loyal and
dedicated to him.'' They desperately want to see him.
Now, if that situation--if that prospect dims, I think
Tibetans will be more frustrated, more radicalized. Because, as
it is, there is economic marginalization, there is cultural
assimilation, there is political control. Now, on top of that,
the emotional threat that they have with His Holiness and the
faith that they have with His Holiness, if they see the
prospect that he's not going to be seen or returned to Tibet,
that would definitely radicalize the Tibetan people inside
Tibet, unfortunately. I'm sad to say it. And that would not be
a scenario which will help the Chinese Government, China, and
also the Tibetan people. And that situation, we must avoid. For
that to happen, I think we need a process through which, you
know, dialogue has to take place. And for that to happen, His
Holiness' message of peace, his voice, his image has to be
transmitted inside China, so the Chinese people can hear him
and decide for themself what kind of leader he is. The rest of
the world knows what kind of leader he is. But, the Chinese
people should decide, not just rely on, you know, one-sided
distorted image that they're trying to project.
Senator Murkowski. So, when you hear the comments that were
made earlier by Secretary Negroponte, that the policy
perspective or the policy push that we make is continued, and
meaningful dialogue, you look--you must be frustrated even more
than some of those who are engaged in that dialogue, because
you're saying there's a timeliness, there's an imperative here.
You have a leader who is not getting younger, and the situation
could become worse for China, should there not be resolution in
the very short term.
Dr. Sangay. Yes, there is a corelationship between dialogue
not working and violent or uprising in Tibet. For example, in
1951, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was in the border of India.
He could just cross over. But then, his representatives in
Beijing signed what--so-called 17-point agreement with the
Chinese Government. Though it was signed under duress and
force, His Holiness felt, you know, ``I will give one more try
to work out with the Chinese Government,'' and he returned to
Lhasa, and he tried his best to work with the Chinese
Government. But, by 1959, the--His Holiness realized, and--
realized that Chinese Government was more interested in
consolidating their position in Tibet, rather than implementing
their own agreement, which was forced on Tibetans. So, he had
to flee. That led to the major uprising in Lhasa in 19---Lhasa
and all over Tibet in 1959.
Now, in 1982 and 1984, His Holiness the Dalai Lama sent two
delegations to Beijing to negotiate with the Chinese Government
on the future prospect of Tibet, because the then leader of
China said anything other than independence can be discussed.
With that premise, he sent his representative, but upon the
arrival in Beijing, they were told that, you know, they will
make five-point offer to the Dalai Lama to restore his
political position and status. But, His Holiness the Dalai Lama
made it very clear at that time, he said, ``I'm not interested
in my own political position, but I'm interested in the welfare
of 6 million Tibetans.''
Now, after 1984, it was very clear that the liberal and
more moderate leader, Hu Yaobang, was losing power, and then
that led to the closure of the negotiation. Then, 1987, 1989-
87, 1988, 1989 uprising happened in Lhasa and neighboring
Now, recently, since 2002, His Holiness sent six
delegations as--he was chief negotiator, he went. Since 2002--
the six delegation went. Each time, they came back empty-
handed. Right? And then, that led to--that is one of the reason
the--for the recent uprising, because Tibetans in Tibet felt
that they want to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama back, but
they felt that these--the dialogue--so-called dialogue--is
just, you know, a waste of time or that the Chinese Government
is just taking Dalai Lama for a ride. And that, kind of, I
think, fueled resentment and that led to the uprising. So,
there is a co relation between dialogue not working and an
uprising. And the key is always been His Holiness the Dalai
Lama. So, Tibetans in Tibet, they want to see, they are
desperate to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama back, and if that
is not fulfilled, it will be tragic for all of us, and then
situation inside Tibet will be unfortunate for all of us.
Senator Murkowski. Well, thank you.
I want to appreciate--I appreciate both of you being on the
panel, but also for the very important perspective that you
have shared with us.
Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Senator Boxer. Thank you, Senator Murkowski. It's great to
be your partner as we work on this.
And I was told that the last Tibet legislation that's been
referred to was really just advisory. It said we should do this
and should do that. And I'm thinking maybe some of the things
that we agree on maybe we should write some legislation. So,
let's work together as a followup to this. And I think that
Secretary Negroponte certainly opened the door to working with
us. So, let's do that.
And I'd ask unanimous consent that the record be kept open
for additional statements until the end of the week.
Senator Boxer. And I ask unanimous consent that an appeal
to the Chinese people by the Dalai Lama, be included in the
record; that remarks prepared for delivery by Mr. Gyari--it's--
the speech is called ``Seeking Unity Through Equality''--be
included in the record; that the names of ten Tibetan political
prisoners, submitted by the Congressional-Executive Commission
on China, be submitted for the record; and that the statement
for the record from the Commission on International Religious
Freedom be included in the record.
[The information referred to above can be found in the
Appendix to this hearing print.]
Senator Boxer. And, with that, I think we conclude the
Again, we thank everybody for their patience and for their
And we stand adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 5:08 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Responses to Additional Questions Submitted for the Record by Members
of the Committee
Responses to Questions Submitted to Deputy Secretary of State John
Negroponte by Senator Richard G. Lugar
Question. In the view of the Administration, what is the current
status of the commitments made by China when it was seeking to host the
Answer. When Beijing was selected as the host city for the 2008
Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Beijing's
Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) signed a ``host city
compact'' specifying the terms China was to fulfill as host of the
Games. We are not privy to this agreement, but we know that in addition
to addressing such matters as security and pollution controls, China
made certain commitments regarding press and media freedom. In its
Olympic bid application, BOCOG stated that there would be ``no
restrictions on journalists in reporting on the Olympic Games.'' BOCOG
stated in its September 2003 Olympic Action Plan that ``in the
preparation for the Games, we will be open in every aspect to the rest
of the country and the whole world.''
At the end of 2006 China promulgated temporary rules for foreign
journalists, which became effective in January 2007 and eliminated the
requirement for journalists to seek approval from authorities before
conducting interviews. However, these regulations specifically exempted
the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), where special permits continued to
be required for reporters. The Foreign Correspondents Club of China
reported earlier this year that the regulations improved overall
reporting conditions for foreign journalists, but that problems with
enforcement of the regulations remained a challenge. Since the unrest
in Tibet, access to Tibetan areas has been restricted and tight
controls have been imposed on communications limiting information flow
from those areas.
We are deeply concerned by these restrictions and have pressed
Chinese officials at the highest levels to provide access to all
Tibetan areas for media, diplomats and international observers. Such
controls on the press and the free flow of information not only damage
China's international reputation, but also run counter to China's
promise to open China to the world, increase media access, and allow
foreign reporters greater freedom to report in all parts of China
before and during the 2008 Olympic Games.
Question. In the administration's dialogue with China over Tibet
issues, have the Chinese been forthcoming as to why they will not sit
down and talk directly with the Dalai Lama? Have they laid out any
specific pre-conditions before they will agree to such talks?
Answer. On April 25, the Chinese government announced that Chinese
officials would meet with the Dalai Lama's representatives for
``private'' discussions. A meeting between Chinese officials and the
Dalai Lama's envoys took place in Shenzhen on May 4. We see this as a
constructive first step towards what we hope will be substantive,
results-based dialogue. With respect to pre-conditions for direct talks
with the Dalai Lama, Chinese authorities have repeatedly stated that he
must take measures to end acts of violence, refrain from ``sabotage''
of the Olympic Games, and curtail his ``separatist'' activities. As
stated in Under Secretary Dobriansky's April 21 op-ed in the Washington
Post, the Dalai Lama has met China's pre-conditions, in that he has
repeatedly and publicly said that he does not seek independence,
renounces violence, and supports China's hosting of the Olympics. In
our view, harsh rhetoric against the Dalai Lama is counterproductive
and serves to further enflame ethnic tensions. We continue to believe
that the path to genuine stability in Tibet is through substantive
dialogue with the Dalai Lama and his representatives, and we have made
this clear to China's leaders.
Additional Material Submitted for the Record
An Appeal to the Chinese People by the Dalai Lama
Today, I extend heartfelt greetings to my Chinese brothers and
sisters around the world, particularly to those in the People's
Republic of China. In the light of the recent developments in Tibet, I
would like to share with you my thoughts concerning relations between
the Tibetan and Chinese peoples, and make a personal appeal to all of
I am deeply saddened by the loss of life in the recent tragic
events in Tibet. I am aware that some Chinese have also died. I feel
for the victims and their families and pray for them. The recent unrest
has clearly demonstrated the gravity of the situation in Tibet and the
urgent need to seek a peaceful and mutually beneficial solution through
dialogue. Even at this juncture I have expressed my willingness to the
Chinese authorities to work together to bring about peace and
Chinese brothers and sisters, I assure you I have no desire to seek
Tibet's separation. Nor do I have any wish to drive a wedge between the
Tibetan and Chinese peoples. On the contrary my commitment has always
been to find a genuine solution to the problem of Tibet that ensures
the long-term interests of both Chinese and Tibetans. My primary
concern, as I have repeated time and again, is to ensure the survival
of the Tibetan people's distinctive culture, language and identity. As
a simple monk who strives to live his daily life according to Buddhist
precepts, I assure you of the sincerity of my personal motivation.
I have appealed to the leadership of the PRC to clearly understand
my position and work to resolve these problems by "seeking truth from
facts". I urge the Chinese leadership to exercise wisdom and to
initiate a meaningful dialogue with the Tibetan people. I also appeal
to them to make sincere efforts to contribute to the stability and
harmony of the PRC and avoid creating rifts between the nationalities.
The state media's portrayal of the recent events in Tibet, using deceit
and distorted images, could sow the seeds of racial tension with
unpredictable long-term consequences. This is of grave concern to me.
Similarly, despite my repeated support for the Beijing Olympics, the
Chinese authorities, with the intention of creating a rift between the
Chinese people and myself, the Chinese authorities assert that I am
trying to sabotage the games. I am encouraged, however, that several
Chinese intellectuals and scholars have also expressed their strong
concern about the Chinese leadership's actions and the potential for
adverse long-term consequences, particularly on relations among
Since ancient times, Tibetan and Chinese peoples have lived as
neighbors. In the two thousand year old recorded history of our
peoples, we have at times developed friendly relations, even entering
into matrimonial alliances, while at others we fought each other.
However, since Buddhism flourished in China first before it arrived in
Tibet from India, we Tibetans have historically accorded the Chinese
people the respect and affection due to elder Dharma brothers and
sisters. This is something well known to members of the Chinese
community living outside China, some of whom have attended my Buddhist
lectures, as well as pilgrims from mainland China, whom I have had the
privilege to meet. I take heart from these meetings and feel they may
contribute to a better understanding between our two peoples.
The twentieth century witnessed enormous changes in many parts of
the world and Tibet too was caught up in this turbulence. Soon after
the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the People's
Liberation Army entered Tibet finally resulting in the 17-point
Agreement concluded between China and Tibet in May 1951. When I was in
Beijing in 1954/55, attending the National People's Congress, I had the
opportunity to meet and develop a personal friendship with many senior
leaders, including Chairman Mao himself. In fact, Chairman Mao gave me
advice on numerous issues, as well as personal assurances with regard
to the future of Tibet. Encouraged by these assurances, and inspired by
the dedication of many of China's revolutionary leaders of the time, I
returned to Tibet full of confidence and optimism. Some Tibetan members
of the Chinese Communist Party also had such a hope. After my return to
Lhasa, I made every possible effort to seek genuine regional autonomy
for Tibet within the family of the People's Republic of China (PRC). I
believed that this would best serve the long-term interests of both the
Tibetan and Chinese peoples.
Unfortunately, tensions, which began to escalate in Tibet from
around 1956, eventually led to the peaceful uprising of March 10, 1959,
in Lhasa and my eventual escape into exile. Although many positive
developments have taken place in Tibet under the PRC's rule, these
developments, as the previous Panchen Lama pointed out in January 1989,
were overshadowed by immense suffering and extensive destruction.
Tibetans were compelled to live in a state of constant fear, while the
Chinese government remained suspicious of them. However, instead of
cultivating enmity towards the Chinese leaders responsible for the
ruthless suppression of the Tibetan people, I prayed for them to become
friends, which I expressed in the following lines in a prayer I
composed in 1960, a year after I arrived in India: ``May they attain
the wisdom eye discerning right and wrong, And may they abide in the
glory of friendship and love.'' Many Tibetans, school children among
them, recite these lines in their daily prayers.
In 1974, following serious discussions with my Kashag (cabinet), as
well as the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the then Assembly of the
Tibetan People's Deputies, we decided to find a Middle Way that would
seek not to separate Tibet from China, but would facilitate the
peaceful development of Tibet. Although we had no contact at the time
with the PRC--which was in the midst of the Cultural Revolution--we had
already recognized that, sooner or later, we would have to resolve the
question of Tibet through negotiations. We also acknowledged that, at
least with regard to modernization and economic development, it would
greatly benefit Tibet if it remained within the PRC. Although Tibet has
a rich and ancient cultural heritage, it is materially undeveloped.
Situated on the roof of the world, Tibet is the source of many of
Asia's major rivers; therefore, protection of the environment on the
Tibetan plateau is of supreme importance. Since our utmost concern is
to safeguard Tibetan Buddhist culture - rooted as it is in the values
of universal compassion - as well as the Tibetan language and the
unique Tibetan identity, we have worked whole-heartedly towards
achieving meaningful self-rule for all Tibetans. The PRC's constitution
provides the right for nationalities such as the Tibetans to do this.
In 1979, the then Chinese paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping assured
my personal emissary that ``except for the independence of Tibet, all
other questions can be negotiated.'' Since we had already formulated
our approach to seeking a solution to the Tibetan issue within the
constitution of the PRC, we found ourselves well placed to respond to
this new opportunity. My representatives met many times with officials
of the PRC. Since renewing our contacts in 2002, we have had six rounds
of talks. However, on the fundamental issue, there has been no concrete
result at all. Nevertheless, as I have declared many times, I remain
firmly committed to the Middle Way approach and reiterate here my
willingness to continue to pursue the process of dialogue.
This year, the Chinese people are proudly and eagerly awaiting the
opening of the Olympic Games. I have, from the start, supported
Beijing's being awarded the opportunity to host the Games. My position
remains unchanged. China has the world's largest population, a long
history and an extremely rich civilization. Today, due to her
impressive economic progress, she is emerging as a great power. This is
certainly to be welcomed. But China also needs to earn the respect and
esteem of the global community through the establishment of an open and
harmonious society based on the principles of transparency, freedom,
and the rule of law. For example, to this day victims of the Tiananmen
Square tragedy that adversely affected the lives of so many Chinese
citizens have received neither just redress nor any official response.
Similarly, when thousands of ordinary Chinese in rural areas suffer
injustice at the hands of exploitative and corrupt local officials,
their legitimate complaints are either ignored or met with aggression.
I express these concerns both as a fellow human being and as someone
who is prepared to consider himself a member of the large family that
is the People's Republic of China. In this respect, I appreciate and
support President Hu Jintao's policy of creating a ``harmonious
society,'' but this can only arise on the basis of mutual trust and an
atmosphere of freedom, including freedom of speech and the rule of law.
I strongly believe that if these values are embraced, many important
problems relating to minority nationalities can be resolved, such as
the issue of Tibet, as well as Eastern Turkistan, and Inner Mongolia,
where the native people now constitute only 20% of a total population
of 24 million.
I had hoped President Hu Jintao's recent statement that the
stability and safety of Tibet concerns the stability and safety of the
country might herald the dawning of a new era for the resolution of the
problem of Tibet. It is unfortunate that despite my sincere efforts not
to separate Tibet from China, the leaders of the PRC continue to accuse
me of being a ``separatist.'' Similarly, when Tibetans in Lhasa and
many other areas spontaneously protested to express their deep-rooted
resentment, the Chinese authorities immediately accused me of having
orchestrated their demonstrations. I have called for a thorough
investigation by a respected body to look into this allegation.
Chinese brothers and sisters--wherever you may be--with deep
concern I appeal to you to help dispel the misunderstandings between
our two communities. Moreover, I appeal to you to help us find a
peaceful, lasting solution to the problem of Tibet through dialogue in
the spirit of understanding and accommodation.
With my prayers,
The Dalai Lama, March 28, 2008.
Seeking Unity Through Equality
Tibetan Political Prisoners
Statement Submitted by the U.S. Commission on International Religious
Prepared Statement of Hon. Barack Obama,
U.S. Senator From Illinois
Madam Chairwoman, I commend you for holding this hearing today.
Like you, I've been deeply concerned about the recent events in Tibet.
I welcome our witnesses, including Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte
and Lodi Gyari, the special representative of His Holiness the Dalai
Lama. Lodi has held six rounds of dialogue with the Chinese Government
over the past several years in search of a solution that will bring
genuine reconciliation between the Tibetan people and the Chinese
Government. A negotiated settlement between China and the Dalai Lama
remains the best hope for a resolution of this crisis. Right now, the
most important thing is to seize this moment when the world's attention
is focused on Tibet to reach an agreement that will guarantee religious
freedom for the Tibetan people, protect Tibetan culture and language,
and provide meaningful autonomy for Tibetans in the areas of economic
development and environmental protection.
The Dalai Lama has met all of the conditions that China requires
for dialogue to succeed. The Dalai Lama recognizes that Tibet is part
of China, and he does not advocate independence for Tibet. The Dalai
Lama supports engagement and dialogue with China. Even after the recent
violence, the Dalai Lama has indicated his continued support for
holding the Olympic Games in Beijing. And the Dalai Lama acknowledges
that China has brought economic development to the Tibetan plateau,
improving the standard of living for millions of Tibetans.
Most importantly, the Dalai Lama is a man of peace. I had the
privilege of speaking with the Dalai Lama during his trip this month to
the United States. He reiterated to me that he continues to condemn the
violence that erupted recently in Lhasa and other Tibetan cities. This
commitment to peace, nonviolence and religious tolerance is why the
United States Congress honored the Dalai Lama with the Congressional
Gold Medal last October.
China should recognize the opportunity that exists to begin a new
chapter in Tibet's troubled history. That new beginning should start
with an understanding of the origins of the recent unrest. There is
little mystery about why Tibetans remain unhappy. The Tibetans who took
to the streets in March were clear about their grievances. They want
the freedom to practice their religion and maintain their culture
without state interference--rights guaranteed to China's nationalities
under the PRC's constitution--and they seek a meaningful voice in
For decades, China has kept tight controls on Tibetan Buddhism, and
for decades China has directed the economic affairs of Tibet without
listening to the Tibetan people. China's repressive policies are not
unique to Tibet--Chinese in other parts of the country also routinely
express their frustration at the government's failure to respect their
fundamental human rights.
The fact that Tibetan unrest is not unique also tells me that the
United States response to the unrest must go beyond simple
condemnations of China's conduct. We need to redouble our efforts
inside Tibet--with funding for nongovernmental organization such as the
Bridge Fund--to strengthen the voice of the Tibetan people in the areas
of economic development and cultural preservation. And throughout
China, we need to do much more to foster respect for the rule of law,
religious freedom, transparency, and accountability in government.
China's heavy hand in Tibet is a symptom of a much larger problem--the
failure of the Chinese Government to listen to the legitimate
grievances of its people and to respond constructively to those
Thank you again, Madam Chairwoman, for convening this important