https://thediplomat.com/2020/12/amid-us ... he-moment/Amid US-China Tensions, Tibetans Seize the Moment
A Tibetan leader presses the U.S. to punish China for crimes against humanity.
By Kevin Holden, December 30, 2020
President Lobsang Sangay, who heads the Tibetan government-in-exile, says his intense shuttle diplomacy with American leaders over the past year has led to a series of victories for Tibet’s embattled monks and monasteries, Buddhist pilgrims, and pacifist protesters.
Sangay explains in an interview that his recent breakthrough meetings at the White House, and with a bipartisan coalition of leaders on Capitol Hill, might ultimately help halt the waves of killings that Chinese armed forces have carried out over the past half-century to crush calls for religious and political freedom in Tibet.
China’s serial use of lethal force against unarmed protesters across the Tibetan Plateau has been documented in detail by the U.N.’s Committee against Torture. Sangay says his allies in the U.S. government could potentially stop these atrocities by imposing Global Magnitsky Act sanctions on Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders found responsible for ordering troops to open fire on Buddhist dissidents.
The Harvard-educated Sangay has spent 2020 shuttling between Washington D.C. and Dharamsala, the ever-expanding sanctuary India’s government has provided for the Dalai Lama and tens of thousands of exiled Tibetans, to formulate a common strategy on reaching that goal.
During a whirlwind of talks over the past weeks, he says, “I have met White House officials and staff members from both the President’s and the Vice President’s Office.”
Buddhist leaders and worshippers across the Himalayas are likely to celebrate his groundbreaking invitation to the White House because it “represents hope for the Tibetans and is also a mark of solidarity of the White House with Tibetans in Tibet and the Tibet cause.”
Just before that meeting, the U.S. State Department issued an official determination that: “In gross violation of the principles set forth in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the CCP maintains a military occupation of Tibet that dates to the 1950s.”
That means, Sangay says, the U.S. government has officially acknowledged that Tibet was independent before People’s Liberation Army troops marched into the Buddhist kingdom in 1950.
The explosion of support for Tibet across the American political arena has even included one call in the House of Representatives for the United States to affirm Tibet’s independence. With his proposed Free Tibet Act of 2020, Congressman Scott Perry seeks “To authorize the President to recognize the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China as a separate, independent country.”
In a follow-up missive he dispatched in mid-December, Perry urged the White House to censure “more than 70 years of uninterrupted, illegal occupation of Tibet by the People’s Republic of China.”