Senator Feinstein Urges Secretary Rice to Continue to Urge Restraint by Chinese Government in Tibet; Encourage Direct Talks between China and His Holiness, the Dalai Lama
- Announces plans to introduce bipartisan resolution on Tibet on Monday -
Apr 04 2008
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today called on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to urge restraint by the Chinese government in Tibet and to encourage reconciliation and dialogue between China and His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.
Senator Feinstein also announced plans to introduce a bipartisan Senate resolution on Monday that would condemn the violence in Tibet and to encourage an open, substantive dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama.
“As a friend of China and the Dalai Lama, I am saddened to see the situation in Tibet deteriorate to this point,” Senator Feinstein said. “Violence cannot solve this matter. The United States must use its influence to bring the Government of China and the people of Tibet together to begin the process of reconciliation and dialogue.
So, Senator Gordon Smith and I intend to introduce a bipartisan resolution on Monday with our colleagues in the Senate to condemn the violence in Tibet and to urge the leadership in China to begin the process of open substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama.”
Following is the text of the letter by Senator Feinstein to Secretary Rice today:
April 4, 2008
The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Secretary Rice:
I am writing to express my deep concern about the protests that have swept across Tibet since March 10 and to urge you to continue to press the Chinese Government to stop the violent crackdown against the protesters and begin a substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama.
As a friend of China and the Dalai Lama, I am saddened to see the situation in Tibet deteriorate to this point. The Dalai Lama has been trying to engage the Chinese leadership for over fifty years. In the 1990s, I carried three letters to President Jiang Zemin from the Dalai Lama requesting a face to face meeting. Six rounds of talks since 2002 between the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China and representatives of His Holiness have not yielded results.
While the exact number of deaths from the violence is in dispute, some independent Tibetan sources put the figure at 140. The Chinese Government has confirmed that 1,000 protesters have been detained while unofficial reports indicate that an additional 1,200 Tibetans have been arrested.
In my view, these protests are significant and are driven by the strong Tibetan belief and experience that the Chinese Government continues to suppress the Tibetan culture and experience.
As you know, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has made it clear that he does not support independence for Tibet, but rather meaningful cultural and religious autonomy for the Tibetan people within the People’s Republic of China. This can only come about through dialogue and negotiation, not violence.
As such, I urge you to work with our friends and allies in the international community and call on the Chinese Government to:
- begin a substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama on national reconciliation, respect for the Tibetan culture, and meaningful autonomy for Tibet;
- stop the violence, provide medical care for those injured, and release all individuals who protested in a peaceful manner;
- provide full access to diplomats and the media to Tibet, and;
- give a full accounting of the recent protests in Tibet, its response, and the manner and number of detentions and deaths.
In addition, I urge you to support the appointment of an independent envoy by the United Nations Secretary General to investigate the protests and China’s response.
Violence cannot solve this matter. The United States must use its influence to bring the Government of China and the people of Tibet together to begin to begin the process of reconciliation and dialogue. I am prepared to help in this endeavor in any way I can. I appreciate your attention to this request and I look forward to hearing from you.
United States Senator