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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Obama and Congress Send Unified Message to China: Negotiate with the Dalai Lama on Tibet

March 17, 2009

ICT report
March 16, 2009

WASHINGTON -- With Chinese Foreign Minister Yang
Jiechi in Washington last week, both President
Obama and the U.S. House of Representatives
stated that the U.S. government expects Beijing
to negotiate with the Dalai Lama’s
representatives on a durable solution for Tibet,
despite repeated demands by Chinese officials to drop the Tibet issue.

"The statements by the President and the House
send an unequivocal message that the United
States expects the Chinese government to
negotiate sincerely with the Dalai Lama,” said
Todd Stein, Director of Government Relations at
the International Campaign for Tibet.  "The U.S.
government has reminded China’s leaders that
their vision for a harmonious U.S.-China
relationship will not materialize until they deal
with Tibetan leaders on a durable solution for Tibet."

On Thursday, President Obama told Foreign
Minister Yang of his "hope there would be
progress in the dialogue between the Chinese
government and the Dalai Lama’s representatives,”
according to a White House statement.  This
followed a State Department statement issued on
the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s exile
which “urge[d] China to reconsider its policies
in Tibet that have created tensions due to their
harmful impact on Tibetan religion, culture, and livelihoods."

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed
a bipartisan resolution that "calls upon the
Government of the People's Republic of China to
respond to the Dalai Lama's initiatives to find a
lasting solution to the Tibetan issue.”   The
resolution (H.Res. 226), which also commemorated
the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s exile,
was introduced by Representatives Rush Holt
(D-NJ) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and
approved by an overwhelming vote of 422 to one.

In debate on the House floor, Rep. Holt, the
sponsor of the resolution, said, "We urge the
Chinese Government to engage in a constructive
dialogue with the Dalai Lama in a sustained
effort to craft a permanent and just solution
that protects the rights and dignity of all
Tibetans.”  Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, the lead cosponsor
and Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs
Committee, said, this resolution can serve as a
response to the foreign minister. The U.S.
Congress has a message for the Foreign Minister
of China's Communist regime, and that is that the
Dalai Lama is not only a religious figure, but a
person of such renown that he was granted the Congressional Gold Medal."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "What we can do
is put the moral authority of the Congress of the
United States in the form of this resolution,
with a broad bipartisan vote, down as a marker to
say that we understand the situation there, that
we encourage it to be different and … that we are
on the side of the Tibetan people.  On Monday,
Speaker Pelosi, on behalf of the U.S. government
accepted the gratitude of the Tibetan-American
community as Tibetan-Americans from around the
country converged on Washington to lobby Congress
to continue its long-standing support for Tibet.

President Obama will met Chinese President and
Party Secretary Hu Jintao in London on April 2 for the G20 Summit.

European Parliamentarians support Tibet dialogue for 50th anniversary

In a resolution adopted by the European
Parliament on Thursday 12 March to mark the 50th
anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against
Chinese rule, the Chinese Government is urged to
resume talks with the Dalai Lama's
representatives with a view to "positive,
meaningful change in Tibet", not ruling out
autonomy, which is a solution that the
parliamentarians believe would not compromise China's territorial integrity.

The European Parliament urges the Chinese
government "to consider the Memorandum for
Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People of
November 2008 as a basis for substantive
discussion leading towards positive, meaningful
change in Tibet, consistent with the principles
outlined in the Constitution and laws of the
People’s Republic of China". The resolution calls
on the EU Council Presidency to adopt a declaration along the same lines.

The Tibetan Memorandum, presented by envoys of
the Dalai Lama at the eighth round of talks in
November 2008 in Beijing, respects the principles
underpinning the Chinese Constitution and the
territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of
China, but was rejected by the Chinese Government
as an attempt at 'semi-independence' and 'independence in disguise'.

In addition, Parliament's resolution "condemns
all acts of violence, whether they are the work
of demonstrators or disproportionate repression
by the forces of law and order". It calls on the
Chinese Government "to release immediately and
unconditionally all those detained solely for
engaging in peaceful protest and account for all
those who have been killed or gone missing".

MEPs ask the Chinese authorities "to provide
foreign media access to Tibet, including the
Tibetan areas outside the Tibet Autonomous
Region" and "to grant UN human rights experts and
recognised international NGOs unimpeded access to
Tibet so that they can investigate the situation there".

The resolution was adopted by 338 votes to 131 with 14 abstentions.

Press contact:
Kate Saunders
Communications Director, ICT
India Tel: +91 97 1768 7756
UK Tel: +44 7947 138612
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