US Senator Dick Lugar, the Senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, has said that China “should address the root causes of the unrest, which are related to Tibetans; growing belief that their culture, religion and economic status are under threat from Chinese policies.”
In a statement on March 31, 2008, Lugar said he was dissappointed that the Chinese have “chosen to attack the Dalai Lama and unfairly blame him for the protests.” “I have met the Dalai Lama several times. I know him to be a man of peace,” Lugar added.
Following is the full text.
Press Release of Senator Lugar
Lugar Statement on Tibet
Monday, March 31, 2008
U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar, the Senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement today on Tibet:
“I deplore the loss of life that occurred among Tibetans and ethnic Chinese during the recent peaceful protests and unwarranted violence in Tibet and the Tibetan areas of China. I urge all parties to refrain from violence.
“I am pleased that China has allowed at least a few foreign journalists into Lhasa to report on the aftermath of the demonstrations, even though it appears to be under tightly controlled conditions. I urge that China open up more fully to allow journalists, diplomats and other independent observers to judge whether, as has been alleged, Chinese authorities overreacted to the unacceptable incidents of looting, burning and attacks on individuals, and whether, as has been alleged, Chinese officials are detaining and lodging charges of violence against monks and others who were expressing their views peacefully, a right that is guaranteed under the Chinese constitution. Greater access would also be consistent with China’s promise to give wider freedoms to foreign journalists in the period before the 2008 Olympics.
“I am particularly disappointed that officials in Beijing have chosen to attack the Dalai Lama and unfairly blame him for the protests. I am aware of no credible evidence that he encouraged or instigated the protests, which occurred across a broad area of the Tibetan Autonomous Region and Tibetan areas of China. In fact, he has deplored the violence and his call to cease violent activities appears to have been heeded by most Tibetans in the TAR and elsewhere. I have met the Dalai Lama several times. I know him to be a man of peace. Contrary to repeated Chinese assertions, he has affirmed he does not favor an independent Tibet, but rather a Tibet with genuine autonomy as part of China.
“I urge China’s leadership to work with the Dalai Lama to seek a mutually agreeable and peaceful solution to the Tibet issue. They should address the root causes of the unrest, which are related to Tibetans’ growing belief that their culture, religion and economic status are under threat from Chinese policies. The Dalai Lama has sought to engage in meaningful dialogue with China, and has the moral authority to implement a durable solution. But progress so far has been limited. As China prepares to host the Olympics and showcase what it calls its “harmonious society,” China’s leaders should take this opportunity to resume the negotiations with the Dalai Lama and his representatives with an intention to achieve concrete results.”