WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02), the Co-Chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, issued the following statement after joining Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers on an historic Congressional delegation to Tibet, Beijing and Hong Kong. Click here to view a photo of Congressman McGovern with the delegation in Tibet.
“With this trip, our Congressional delegation continued the important dialogue between the U.S. and China. I have long raised concerns about China’s human rights record in Tibet. As the first Congressional delegation to enter Tibet since the 2008 unrest, this was an important opportunity to raise the voices of the Tibetan people.
“In our time in Beijing and Hong Kong, we discussed the importance of the U.S. and China working together to address climate change, increase the protection of cyber space and countering the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Additionally, our delegation discussed autonomy and democracy in Hong Kong and the need to strengthen human and women’s rights throughout China.
“America has a responsibility to stand up for human rights at home and abroad. Human rights in China, and Tibet in particular, continue to be an area of grave concern. We will be looking at ways to increase the push for needed reforms in the days and weeks ahead. In every meeting, we emphasized the strong bipartisan support in Congress for the Dalai Lama and the need to strengthen and protect the human rights, religion and culture of the Tibetan people.
“I am grateful to Leader Pelosi for leading this delegation and to U.S. Ambassador Max Baucus, US Counsel General Clifford Hart, and the State Department officials who helped to facilitate this important trip.”
In Tibet, the delegation met with the Secretary of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), Chen Quanguo; Vice Party Secretary of TAR, Baima Chilin; and Party Secretary of Lhasa, Qi Zhala. The delegation visited UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Potala Palace, which served as the living quarters and burial sites for former Dalai Lamas; and the Jokhang Temple, a sacred destination for religious pilgrims. The delegation also met and observed monks at the Sera Monastery.
In Beijing, the delegation met with the Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Li Keqiang; National People’s Congress Chairman, Zhang Dejiang; and National People’s Congress Vice Chairman, Zhang Ping. At Peking University, the delegation participated in a climate change forum with students who shared their determination to address the climate crisis.
While in Hong Kong, the delegation met with Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung to discuss the importance of preserving Hong Kong’s autonomy and the importance of the US-Hong Kong bilateral relationship. The delegation also met with Pan-Democratic, Labor and Liberal Party legislators.
In addition to Leader Pelosi, Congressman McGovern was joined by Representatives Betty McCollum (D-MN), Timothy Walz (D-MN), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), and Ted Lieu (D-CA).