Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ted Yoho condemn China’s treatment of Tibet

By Kevin Derby

ON THE WEB, 7 November 2017

Even as President Donald Trump continues his tour of Asia, two Florida Republicans have teamed up with two leading Democrats to bring out a proposal condemning the Chinese government’s handling of Tibet.

Last week, US Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the first woman to ever chair the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, brought out a resolution urging the federal government to “make the treatment of the Tibetan people an important factor in the conduct of United States relations with the People’s Republic of China” while reinforcing the United States’ support for the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhist religion and culture. US Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., the chairman of the US House Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, is also backing the resolution as a co-sponsor.

“China’s repression of the Tibetan people represents a serious threat to the region’s stability and must be a higher priority in US foreign policy,” Ros-Lehtinen said when she unveiled the resolution last week. “With President Trump traveling to China next week, this resolution sets a clear blueprint for Tibet policy in US-Chinese relations, outlining where the United States needs to take a stronger hand and stand up to Beijing’s bullying. As we mark the 10-year anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama receiving the Congressional Gold Medal, US policy must work to reverse China’s dangerous behavior and finally achieve a negotiated solution that includes meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people.”

Ros-Lehtinen and Yoho have reeled in some prominent backers from the other side of the aisle. US Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is on board. So is US Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the House Asia and Pacific Subcommittee.

“China’s systematic oppression of the Tibetan people is increasing in intensity and cruelty,” Engel said. “So when the president travels to China in the coming days, I hope he makes it clear that human rights and democratic values are central components of American foreign policy. As the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, His Holiness the Dalai Llama has inspired the world for decades with principled and peaceful leadership, a stark contrast to a regime in Beijing bent on consolidating economic and political power. Congress has long supported the cause of the Tibetan people, from the Tibetan Policy Act to awarding the Dalai Llama the Congressional Gold Medal. This resolution calls on the Trump administration to continue America’s principled support of Tibetan people’s right to preserve their own distinct cultural identity.”

The resolution was sent to the House Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committees.

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