Press Releases

Washington—A resolution introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) expressing concern about the situation in Tibet and support for the Tibetan people unanimously passed the Senate today.

“The Senate has sent a clear message to the Tibetan people:  we stand in solidarity with you as you strive to preserve your culture and practice your faith freely,” said Senator Feinstein. “The time has come for China to heed this message and end its repressive policies in Tibet. His Holiness has consistently made it clear that he does not support independence for Tibet, but rather a meaningful cultural and religious autonomy within the People’s Republic of China.”

“Last year, Tibetans around the world participated in a free, fair, competitive election for the political leadership of their government in exile,” said Senator Lieberman. “This resolution recognizes the importance of this historic vote, which resulted in the election of an exceptionally talented and impressive new Prime Minister or Kalon Tripa, Dr. Lobsang Sangay. Unfortunately, at the same time that Tibetans outside China have been making inspiring progress towards democracy, Tibetans inside China are suffering from increased repression and persecution—causing at least 19 Tibetans to immolate themselves in protest. This is a critical moment for the Senate to reaffirm that the treatment of Tibetans in China and denial of fundamental human rights there is a source of deep concern for the United States.”

The resolution:

  • Mourns the death of Tibetans who have self-immolated and deplores the repressive policies targeting Tibetans;
  • Calls on the People’s Republic of China to suspend implementation of religious control regulations, reassess religious and security policies implemented in Tibet, and resume a dialogue with Tibetan Buddhist leaders, including the Dalai Lama;
  • Calls on the People’s Republic of China to release all persons that have been arbitrarily detained; to cease the intimidation, harassment and detention of peaceful protestors; and to allow unrestricted access to journalists, foreign diplomats, and international organizations to Tibet;
  • Commends His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his decision to devolve his political power in favor of a democratic system;
  • Congratulates Tibetans living in exile for holding, on March 20, 2011, a competitive, multi-candidate election that was free, fair, and met international electoral standards; and
  • Reaffirms the unwavering friendship between the people of the United States and the people of Tibet.

In 1978, Feinstein (then mayor of San Francisco) hosted the Dalai Lama to San Francisco, and in the 1990s carried three letters to President Jiang Zemin from the Dalai Lama requesting a face-to-face meeting.

“It is my fervent hope that passage of this resolution will convince China to engage the Dalai Lama through dialogue and negotiation on addressing the legitimate grievances of all Tibetans,” Senator Feinstein added.

In addition to Senators Feinstein and Lieberman, the resolution was cosponsored by Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jim Webb (D-Va.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.).