US Congressional Delegation Visits Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile

Audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his residence

Dharamshala: Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile welcomed a total of 5 members of U.S Congressional delegation on 3rd August 2019. The members include representatives of US Congressional from the House of Democracy Partnership led by Chair Congressman David Price and Vice-chair Congressman Vern Buchanan along with Congresswomen Susan Davis, Congressman Neal Dunn, and Congressman John Rutherford. The delegation was accompanied by staffers, military escorts, and the staff of the embassy.

Earlier on the same day, U.S Congressional delegation along with Speaker Pema Jungney of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and President Dr. Lobsang Sangay of CTA had a precious opportunity of recieving an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his residence.

U.S Congressional delegation along with members of Standing Committee of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile

The delegates took a tour of Parliament hall and then had a brief yet meaningful meeting with the standing committee members of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile in the library cum conference hall of TPiE. It started with Deputy Speaker Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok introducing members of the standing committee, their provinces or four Buddhist sects/one pre Buddhist tradition (Bon), and three sections viz. Political, Administrative and Gyundrel (Finance) of the standing committee.

Deputy Speaker Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok answering question asked by delagates

Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Pema Jungney welcomed the delegates and said it was an honor and a privilege to have the US Congress Delegation to the Central Tibetan Administration, Dharamsala once again. Their presence in Dharamsala proved the ardent support of the United States of America’s strong will and commitment to resolve political cause of Tibet. It also reinforces the strong commitment of their standing with Tibet’s struggle for truth and justice. Speaker on behalf of Tibetans in and outside Tibet expressed his heartfelt gratitude to each one of them for coming to Dharamsala and showing solidarity for Tibetan people at this critical time in Tibet’s history.

Speaker Pema Jungney giving his welcome speech

In the welcome speech Speaker said, “The United States of America is a free and the most powerful democratic nation that plays a pivotal role in maintaining and promoting peace in the World. This great nation has constantly fulfilled the dreams of many in this world and is a nation that everyone aspires to be its citizen.”

He further said that the people and the government of the United States of America have continuously bestowed their support to Tibetans and to the cause of Tibet for a very long time.

The United States of America has been among the pioneer countries in helping Tibetans to protect its unique culture and identity by welcoming His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to the United States in 1979 and thereafter, offering highly acclaimed awards to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama followed by adoption of the US Tibetan Resettlement Project in the 1990s, The Tibet Policy Act of 2002, the reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, numerous resolutions in support of human rights and religious freedom of Tibetans in Tibet especially referring to the right to recognition of reincarnation of Lamas without interference of Chinese authorities, passing good number of resolutions and issuing statements in solidarity with the self-immolations, protection of environment, resumption of dialogue between the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Chinese authorities and many more.

He also spoke about US Congressional Delegation led by honorable US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Tibet in 2015 and the promises of the delegation to bring His Holiness the Dalai Lama back to Potala Palace affirms the strong support of the US Congress to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and cause of Tibet.

U.S Congressional delegates visited Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile

Speaker then spoke about the Middle Way Approach supported by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, CTA and Tibetan people, which is the most reasonable approach for both the Chinese and Tibetan people based on trust and mutual respect.

He firmly stated that their gathering was not to agitate or conspire plan to destroy China but to convey the Chinese authorities that we are genuinely willing to resolve the long standing issue of Tibet through dialogue. He then spoke about the grave situation inside Tibet and urged Chinese government not to resort to repression and severity on Tibetan people in Tibet.

Finally, Speaker briefed about the Tibetan Democracy in Exile and expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the delegates for their visit that sends a strong message of hope to the Tibetans inside Tibet and exemplify the free nation countries to take the moral responsibility of making this world a peaceful place to live and speak up against the injustice committed in the World.

He urged the delegates to support Congressman McGovern, Chair of Congressional-Executive Committee on China (CECC) regarding the commission’s plan to update the 2002 Tibet Policy Act with provisions for the elevation of the CTA status and Reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Congressman David Price speaking to Standing Committee members of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile

Congressman David Price expressed his opinion on the notion of unicameral or partyless parliament. He then spoke about the House of democracy partnership, a bipartisan commission of House of members, who have engaged for almost 13 years with emerging democracies, reemerging democracies and aspiring democracies around the world.

He also spoke about uniqueness of Tibetan democracy in exile and its worldwide elections. He expressed his hope of learning a lot from each other. Delegates then introduced themselves and engaged in a mutual exchange of thoughts with the members of standing committee members.

Parliamentarian Youdon Aukatsang answering question asked by the U.S Congressional delegation

Members of the Standing Committee answered questions asked by delegates and clarified their doubts, at the same time they asked some very important questions to the delegate. They thanked government and people of the United States for their undying support to Tibetan people and Tibet issue and urged them to request President Trump to appoint a special Coordinator for Tibetan issues that would accelerate process of resolving the long-standing issue of Tibet.

The meeting concluded with a thank you speech by Deputy Speaker Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok.

Parliamentarian Lobsang Dakpa interacting with the U.S. Congressional delgation

Congressman Neal Dunn asking question to the members of Standing Committee