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"For a happier, more stable and civilized future, each of us must develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood."

Tom Lantos affirms his pledge to support human rights in Tibet

December 22, 2007

TibetNet
Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Dharamshala: The United States' Congressman and a long time supporter of
Tibet, Mr Tom Lantos promised to work tirelessly to focus on our human
rights

goals, and ensured never to turn away from the people of Tibet, during
the 22nd Annual Tibet Day held in San Francisco on 15 December.

The event was co-organised by the Tibetan Association of Northern
California (TANC) and the Bay Area Friends of Tibet (BAFoT) as well as
San Francisco Team

Tibet (SFTT).

Mr Lantos said, while commemorating the International Human Rights Day,
the world community affirms the universal human rights of every man,
woman and

child, adding that the annual celebration demonstrates that even in the
darkest corners of the earth, there are those who are willing to shine a
powerful

light on human rights abuses.

He said,"2007 marks twenty years since His Holiness the Dalai Lama first
publicly presented his Five Point Peace Plan for Tibet. He made this
presentation in

Washington, D.C., after graciously accepting my invitation to attend a
meeting of the bipartisan Congressional Human Rights Caucus, which I
co-founded in

1983 and continue to co-chair.

"As we approach these anniversaries, we must ask ourselves serious
questions about China?s human rights record, and particularly their
actions," he said.

"To carry out these policies, while also maximizing economic benefit to
its central government, which prevents Tibetan religious and cultural
expression and

severely limits Tibetan educational and economic opportunities," he added.

He said, the China-Tibet railroad backs pervasive Chinese military
presence non-violent protest with immediate arrest, torture, and prison
sentences for

those civilians, monks and nuns who have dared to protest.

He further said, "Standing in stark contrast to these horrors is the
record of peace and justice of my friend the Dalai Lama. His Holiness
has tirelessly led

efforts to care for tens of thousands of Tibetans who have risked their
lives to escape occupied Tibet. Recently, His Holiness has encouraged
more of these

young people to return eventually to Tibet, to help Tibetans at home
preserve their culture and their hope."

"His Holiness the Dalai Lama has devoted great effort to sharing Tibetan
culture with a global audience, and has encouraged other Tibetan
teachers to do

the same. The result is that during the past sixty years, interest and
understanding of kindness and compassion as primary principles for human
affairs and

government, taught in Tibetan culture, have spread throughout the
world," he added

He said, His Holiness is unambiguous for his call on autonomy and aims
only for cultural and religious autonomy, and not full independence.
"These are basic

rights of the Tibetan people, and I urge China to grant such autonomy
without delay," he added.

He lauded the constant support of the San Francisco Bay Area Tibet human
rights community in bringing tremendous strides in addressing the crisis
in Tibet.

He said, "Right now, today, we have a unique window of opportunity to
pressure the Chinese government into reforming their reprehensible human
rights

record: the approach of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. It is of foremost
importance to the Chinese to project a modern, enlightened image during its

moment on the world stage, and we must demand real steps forward before,
during and after this event. "
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