Thursday, January 22, 2009
Question for the Record submitted by SFRC Chairman Kerry, with answer by Secretary-designate Clinton
98. The government of China and the Dalai Lama of Tibet disagree on the issue of greater autonomy for the Tibetan Autonomous Region, which has been a stumbling block in their ongoing dialogue. Meanwhile, many Tibetans have lost faith in the possibility of a negotiated compromise, while Chinese leaders have expressed a deep distrust of the Dalai Lama’s intentions and foreign contacts. What options may be acceptable to both sides? What kinds of international pressure, if any, would be helpful in promoting a resolution?
The Obama Administration will speak out for the human rights and religious freedom of the people of Tibet. If Tibetans are to live in harmony with the rest of China’s people, their religion and culture must be respected and protected. Tibet should enjoy genuine and meaningful autonomy. The Dalai Lama should be invited to visit China, as part of a process leading to his return. We will condemn the use of violence to put down peaceful protests, and call on the Chinese government to respect the basic human rights of the people of Tibet, and to account for the whereabouts of detained Buddhist monks. We will also continue to press China on our concerns about human rights issues at every opportunity and at all levels, publicly and privately, both through our mission in China and in Washington.