WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement commemorating the 1959 Tibetan Uprising.
“Today we commemorate the 1959 Tibetan Uprising, and recognize the ongoing injustices suffered since then by the Tibetan people. Freedom, democracy, and religious pluralism are fundamental values cherished by the American people. The recent crackdowns and troubling new legislations in China, and their deep impact on the people of Tibet, are contrary to these values. The denial of the rights of Tibetan people to their own language, culture, and religious autonomy as guaranteed under China’s own Constitution, and the lack of commitment that China has made to meet basic international standards for human rights continue to be causes of concern.
“In March of 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama was forced into exile to escape the repression that followed the Tibetan Uprising. He is still forced to live in exile outside to Tibet today. In his statement on March 10, 2011, before devolving his political authority, the Dalai Lama said, ‘The Chinese government claims there is no problem in Tibet other than the personal privileges and status of the Dalai Lama. The reality is that the ongoing oppression of the Tibetan people has provoked widespread, deep resentment against current official policies. People from all walks of life frequently express their discontentment. That there is a problem in Tibet is reflected in the Chinese authorities’ failure to trust Tibetans or win their loyalty. Instead, the Tibetan people live under constant suspicion and surveillance. Chinese and foreign visitors to Tibet corroborate this grim reality.’ I believe it is critical for Congress to continue to robustly support the Dalai Lama’s effort to peacefully resolve these issues through his Middle Way approach, which calls for the enforcement of Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan people, and does not call for independence for Tibet. The future of Tibet and its people plays an important role in the broader US-China relationship, and is not an issue that can be solved through the continued imposition of oppressive policies by Chinese authorities.”