WASHINGTON: More than 35 US Congressmen have urged President Donald Trump to appoint a special coordinator for Tibet, a post that has been laying vacant for long.
"As members of the United States Congress, we write to urge you to appoint the position of Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues at the US Department of State as soon as possible," Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission James P McGovern and Randy Hultgren along with 35 other Congressmen wrote in a letter to President Trump.
In the letter dated June 21, which was released to the press yesterday, the lawmakers noted the preservation of Tibet's unique religious, cultural and linguistic traditions.
Human rights protection of Tibetans living in China have widespread support among the American people and strong bipartisan support in Congress, it added.
The core purpose of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 (TPA), which guides US policy towards Tibet, is "to support the aspirations of the Tibetan people to safeguard their distinct identity," they said.
The position of Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues has a mandate to "vigorously promote the policy of seeking to protect the distinct religious, cultural, linguistic, and national identity of Tibet," and press for "improved respect for human rights," the letter said.
The Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues has been designated at the level of Under Secretary of State.
"We strongly encourage you to continue this practice, as a means of communicating to the Chinese government that your administration shares the commitment of past administrations and the US Congress to the rights and well-being of the Tibetan people," the lawmakers wrote.
Noting that this is a critical time for Tibetans, the lawmakers said the systematic suppression of basic human rights and religious freedom - most recently evidenced by the large-scale demolitions carried out at the historic Tibetan Buddhist Institute of Larung Gar, continues unabated.
The few foreigners who are allowed to visit Tibet amid many restrictions, and they report the creation of a virtual police state, with checkpoints on the roads and a pervasive climate of fear, they said.
"Meanwhile, no talks have taken place between representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government since January 2010, even as millions of Tibetans have pinned their hopes for a better future on the dialogue process, continuously supported by previous US governments. The first step toward addressing all of these problems is to name a new Special Co-coordinator for Tibetan Issues," the Congressmen said in their letter.
"The human rights crisis facing Tibetans gets worse and worse every day. Our letter to President Trump urges him to take the first step to focus his Administration's attention on this problem, by naming the special coordinator for Tibetan Issues, a position established by law.
According to Congressman McGovern, the human rights crisis facing Tibetans gets worse day by day.
"Our letter to President Trump urges him to take the first step to focus his administration's attention on this problem, by naming the special coordinator for Tibetan Issues, a position established by law.
"Filling the special coordinator position will send a clear message to China that the rights of Tibetans remain at the top of the US government's agenda," he added.