Aspen, Colorado, July 25, 2008: Arizona Senator John McCain, presumptive US presidential nominee of the Republican Party, accompanied by Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican of South Carolina), met in a private residence with the Dalai Lama this afternoon to discuss Tibet. The Dalai Lama frequently meets with US Senators but it is unusual for such meetings to take place out of Washington, DC. This is his first meeting with Senator McCain.
This spring Senator McCain was quick to condemn the Chinese government’s crackdown following demonstrations across Tibet. Addressing the media after a meeting with French President Sarkozy in Paris on March 21, 2008, the Senator said, “That is not acceptable conduct from a world power, which China is.” After meeting British Prime Minister Brown in London on March 20, 2008, McCain said. “There’s a long history of Chinese treatment of the people in Tibet which is certainly not one that I think the Chinese should be proud of, and I hope that they would quickly respect the human rights of the people there.”
Following the meeting, Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, Special Envoy of the Dalai Lama, said: “The Senator remains gravely concerned for those who have been imprisoned for expressing their political and religious beliefs and asked to be kept informed about the situation in Tibet. The meeting provided His Holiness an opportunity to express his gratitude for all the heartfelt support we are receiving and the serious efforts the international community is making to help resolve the situation. He also repeated that he is seeking autonomy for Tibet within the People’s Republic of China.”
Senator Barack Obama, presumptive 2008 US presidential nominee from the Democratic Party, met the Dalai Lama in 2005 at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee event, and has been in contact with the Dalai Lama recently.