Tibet Lobby Day

Tibetan-Americans and their supporters during Tibet Lobby Day 2010.

On February 28 and March 1, 2011, Tibetan-Americans and friends of Tibet from around the United States visited Capitol Hill to meet with their congressional representatives. They are asking Congress to sustain programmatic investments and political support to help Tibetans preserve their identity. They are also urging support for the basic desire of all peoples, including Tibetans, for universal freedoms.

“This Tibet Lobby Day demonstrates the growing political maturity of the Tibetan-American community and their desire for a larger political voice in Washington,” said Todd Stein, ICT Director of Government Relations. “They will find open doors, given Congress’ long-standing support for Tibet.”

More than 110 participants from Florida to Washington, California to Maine, and many states in between will participate in more than 100 meetings in the House of Representatives and Senate.

Tibet Lobby Day 2011 will capture the momentum for Tibet established at the January US-China Summit in Washington. D.C. during which President Obama publicly called for a resumption of the dialogue between Chinese officials and the Dalai Lama’s representatives. Lobby Day precedes by less than three weeks, the March 20 election in the Tibetan exile community for parliamentary representatives and the chief executive or Kalon Tripa of the Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamsala, India.

These two manifestations of participatory democracy by Tibetan Americans – voting for their exile government leadership and lobbying the Congress of their adopted country – echo the Tibetan people’s demands for basic human rights, including freedom of expression and assembly, within Tibet itself. The success of the Tibetan exile community’s democratic aspirations, supported and encouraged by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, are in stark contrast to the plight of Tibetans inside Tibet.

Commenting on Tibet Lobby Day, ICT staff Tencho Gyatso said: “Voicing our support for Tibet in the halls of Congress demonstrates our commitment to democracy. We look around the world today, and we feel the same yearnings for freedoms that our brothers and sisters in the Middle East feel. That we can organize and speak up with dignity and without fear of reprisals makes very clear the differences between being a Tibetan in America and being a Tibetan in the PRC (People’s Republic of China). We hope for a time when all Tibetans experience openness and accountability from their government.”