Photos and article by Howard G. Fass March 03, 2011
2011 Tibet Lobby Day, Washington DC.
We were honored to join the Third Annual Tibet Lobby Day in Washington, DC. again which was organized and hosted by The International Campaign for Tibet.
We were proud to represent, in addition to our own small group, Students for Free Tibet. Our heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone at The International Campaign for Tibet who made this event such an absolute joy and success.
We joined our good friends from The Tibetan Association of Boston and two Tibetan former political prisoners Lama Sonam and Ngwang Sangdrol. These two individuals lived through unbelievable suffering and hardship at the hands of the communist Chinese government which has been brutally oppressing Tibetans and their unique culture since day-one of their illegal occupation of the Tibetan nation.
Their voice was a powerful one on Capitol Hill that will not be easily forgotten by those who heard them in government. We thank them for their bravery and steadfastness under tremendous hardships. They serve as a constant reminder of just how important human rights and religious freedoms really are. If human rights are suppressed and abused anywhere, these rights become diminish everywhere; lest we forget...
We met with the Congressional and Senate offices for the states of Maine and Massachusetts. We also met with staff from The Committee on Foreign Relations from the US Senate.
Our primary asks were:
1. Continued support for Tibetan language service in the VOA (Voice of America) and RFA (Radio Free Asia). These two news sources are a life-line of information and hope for Tibetans living behind China's fire-wall.
2. Keep pushing the Chinese for a US consulate in Lhasa, Chinese occupied Tibet. The State Department has already approved this move and ear-marked funding for this consulate. Having American "eyes and ears" on the ground in Tibet's capital in this way would help keep the world in touch with what is going on inside Tibet. This is critical given the brutal nature of the CCP's continued occupation and exploitation inside Tibet.
3. Support for the Special immigration legislation (HR 699 / Sensenbrenner, Miller bill). This bill would allow for 3,000 immigrant visas to be issued to qualifying Tibetans over a three-year period. Tibetans are currently considered stateless persons under international law, so this bill is critical.
4. Push the Chinese government to free and release all Tibetan political prisoners now and stop their illegal crimes against humanity!
5. Ask our representatives to join The international Network of Parliamentarians for Tibet. Currently this organization has 133 parliamentarians from 30 different countries around the world. The goal of this organization is to advance the issue of Tibet in governments worldwide.
Below are some photos from the 2011 Tibet Lobby Day. Thanks to everyone who made this successful event possible!
Our newest member!
With Maine Senator Snowe's office.
With Maine Congresswoman Pingree's office.
With Massachusetts Congressman Capuano's office
With Maine Senator Collin's office.
The special envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks with Tibet lobby delegates at The ICT headquarters.