The International Campaign for Tibet welcomes the confirmation that Tibet was raised during President Joe Biden’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
This meeting takes place at a critical moment, as the Chinese leader has implemented ruthless control in Tibet, including intensive securitization of the Tibetan Plateau and unprecedented Sinification of the Tibetan people. It is most important to raise these concerns directly with President Xi.
The White House readout of the meeting states: “President Biden underscored the universality of human rights and the responsibility of all nations to respect their international human rights commitments. He raised concerns regarding [People’s Republic of China] human rights abuses, including in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong.”
This is a good step, but more needs to be done. Tibetans, Uyghurs and many other groups, including the Chinese people themselves, have been denied the freedom to raise their grievances and seek redress from the Chinese government. Xi and his officials must hear their voices too, and the Biden administration has an opportunity to push them to listen.
In particular, President Biden should press Beijing to return to direct dialogue with the representatives of the Tibetan people, as he promised to do during his 2020 campaign.
Mandate to support Tibet
US law gives President Biden a legal mandate to speak up for Tibet.
The Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 says the president and secretary of state “should encourage the Government of the People’s Republic of China to enter into a dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives leading to a negotiated agreement on Tibet.”
In addition, the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 reaffirms the US commitment to the China-Tibet dialogue process.
For decades, the American people have shown consistent, bipartisan support for the Tibetan people. A recent petition drive by the International Campaign for Tibet sent nearly 2,000 petitions to the White House calling on Biden to raise Tibet with Xi.
Biden himself promised during his 2020 campaign to “work with our allies in pressing Beijing to return to direct dialogue with the representatives of the Tibetan people to achieve meaningful autonomy, respect for human rights, and the preservation of Tibet’s environment as well as its unique cultural, linguistic and religious traditions.”
The International Campaign for Tibet is also disturbed by reports of pro-China demonstrators attacking Tibet activists who protested peacefully outside Xi’s meetings in San Francisco.
China brutally denies Tibetans the right to protest inside Tibet. It is crucial that Tibetan Americans and Tibet supporters in the United States be able to speak up for their just cause without fear of violence and harassment.
The Chinese government and its operatives must not be allowed to intimidate or assault Tibetans on American soil.