Washington: The US House of Representatives in an unanimous resolution has called on China to start unconditional talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama to address the grievances of the Tibetan people.
"I'm proud to have offered this resolution that calls for the Chinese government to sit down with Tibet's leaders without preconditions, listen to their grievances, and work toward an agreement that guarantees the rights and security of the Tibetan people," Congressman Eliot Engel, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said.
The resolution introduced by Engel and supported by several other lawmakers was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives yesterday.
It called on the Chinese government to negotiate with Tibet's leaders without preconditions and marking the 80th birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama.
In his speech on the House floor, Engel said human rights conditions for the Tibetan people continue to deteriorate in Tibet as more monasteries come under government control, and as more people are arrested, the desperation of the Tibetan people grows.
"Tragically, more than 140 Tibetans have burned themselves alive in protest of growing oppression. Yet the Chinese authorities have not changed course. Despite talk of mutual respect and social harmony, the reality in Tibet tells a very, very different story," he said.
"So today, we look to the example set by the Dalai Lama and call for meaningful change for the Tibetan people. The Dalai Lama's life has been a ceaseless, peaceful journey toward a better future for his people. It's in that spirit that we call on the Chinese government to negotiate without preconditions," Engel said.
The Congressman said the Dalai Lama has shown that democratic institutions can thrive alongside spiritual leadership.
"It's in that spirit that we urge the Chinese government not to involve itself in the spiritual succession process for the next Dalai Lama, should there be one," he said.
"The Dalai Lama has championed freedom of expression and freedom of conscience to promote mutual understanding and harmony. It's in this spirit that this resolution calls on China to allow unrestricted access to officials, journalists, and other American citizens," he said adding that the US has an obligation to hold up these freedoms.
"That's why this measure also calls on our own government to press the issues of human rights, political rights, and religious rights at the highest levels of the Chinese government, and to call for the immediate release of Tibetan political prisoners," he said.