By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 21 January 2021
Congratulating Joe Biden for assuming office as the new US President, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama expressed gratitude for his support for Tibet, and appreciated him for rejoining the Paris climate accord.
The Dalai Lama, who has been living in exile in the Himalayan village of McLeod Ganj for 60 years, has been one of the world’s foremost environmental activists calling to end global warming.
“As someone deeply concerned with the ecological crisis our planet faces, I am so pleased that you are elevating the issue of climate change to your highest priority and that the United States is rejoining the Paris Climate Accord. Global warming is an urgent threat to the whole world and to the survival of our species,” the Dalai Lama wrote in a letter to Biden.
The Dalai Lama also commended Biden for taking other measures to bring the country back in order and on the path of development and reconciliation.
Shortly after being sworn in on Wednesday, Biden signed 17 executive orders, memorandums, and proclamations from the Oval Office, sweeping aside much of the former President Donald Trump’s agenda.
Among the steps the president took were orders to rejoin the Paris climate accord, end Trump’s travel ban on some Muslim-majority countries, halting the process of withdrawing from the World Health Organization, advance racial equity, and support other underserved communities.
Bolstering the sluggish economic recovery and taking action on the coronavirus pandemic were also among the top agendas.
Dismantling Trump’s policies his aides said were to “reverse the gravest damages” caused to the country by Trump.
The Dalai Lama further wrote that the whole world places its hope in the democratic vision and leadership of the United States. “In these challenging times, I am confident that you will contribute to shaping a more peaceful world in which those suffering from hunger, disease, and violence may find help. The need to address these issues is indeed pressing.”
Thanking the president for his long-standing support for the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama said, “It has been our good fortune to have enjoyed the friendship and encouragement of the American people and their leaders in our endeavour to protect and preserve our ancient Buddhist culture, a culture of peace, non-violence, and compassion.”
Biden during his campaigning said that he would meet with the Dalai Lama if elected as president, and would press China to resume talks with Tibetans for “meaningful autonomy”. He also vowed to impose sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses in Tibet and to step up support for Tibetans.