We'd like to share a report by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This report is available online, but we wanted to highlight their recommendations to the US Government:
"The staff traveled to Tibet to identify areas of common ground, particularly in the areas of equitable economic development, environmental protection, and cultural preservation. Discussions between U. S. and Chinese officials on Tibet issues are often contentious. Chinese officials tend to characterize U.S. interest in the human rights situation in Tibet and Washington’s advocacy of dialogue between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Beijing as unwelcome intrusions into China’s internal affairs. Beijing objected when the Congress passed the Tibet Policy Act in 2002, and lodged formal protests when Congress later awarded the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor. Nonetheless, we believe it remains vital for the U.S. government, consistent with the Tibet Policy Act, to continue to urge the government of China to pursue reconciliation with the Dalai Lama and other Tibetans in exile through mutually respectful dialogue. Reconciliation would not only help resolve a long-standing political and humanitarian crisis, but also allow the expertise, resources, and energy and Tibetans in exile to assist in the economic development of Tibet and the protection of its fragile environment and unique culture.
While that dialogue continues, there are steps that the United States can take that might not only bring direct benefits to the Tibetan people, but also begin to build a foundation of trust between Washington and Beijing on Tibetan affairs. Given Beijing’s stated objectives for Tibet, and in light of some of the economic development, environmental protection, and cultural preservation projects we observed there, we believe there is room to explore collaborative efforts in Tibet. Accordingly, we make the following recommendations for the U.S. government:
• Working in concert with officials in Beijing and in Tibetan regions of China, identify specific projects in the areas of sustainable economic development, environmental protection, and cultural preservation that could be undertaken jointly. Possible areas include lessons learned by the United States in dealing with discrimination and prejudice, bilingual education, environmentally sound mining practices, collection of data on glacier melt and river management, historically accurate restoration of cultural relics, collaborative research on Tibetan Buddhist teachings, etc. Projects could be implemented through a combination of non-governmental and official channels, with both private and public funding;
• Cooperating with Chinese officials, seek to scale up existing U.S.- funded NGO activities in Tibetan regions, studying what works and replicating success stories in other ethnic minority prefectures; and
• Encourage China to relax restrictions on movement of U.S. government officials, journalists, tourists, and pilgrims to and from Tibetan regions, and, consistent with the Tibet Policy Act, press China to permit the United States to open a Consulate in Lhasa.
Restrictions on access to Tibet make it harder for China to tell the positive stories of Tibet, even as they afford corrupt or brutal officials protection from scrutiny. Tibet should be as open as any other part of China. Establishing a full-time diplomatic post in Lhasa would not only allow greater support for U.S. citizens traveling to Tibet, but also signal our government’s enduring commitment to working with Chinese authorities and the Tibetan people to promote sustainable economic development, environmental protection, and cultural preservation."
What do you think? We'd love to hear your thoughts, especially since His Holiness the Dalai Lama is relinquishing his political power to devote more time to his role as a spiritual leader. Share your thoughts here or find us on Facebook and Twitter.
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3 Generations Founder and President