US Diplomat on Religious Freedom meets Dalai Lama in exile headquarter, reaffirm Washington’s stand on his reincarnation
DHARAMSALA, 28 Oct: The US Ambassador at large for International Religious Freedom has reaffirmed the US’ support to Tibet and reiterated Washington’s stand on the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“The United States government supports the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama and that the role of picking a successor to the Dalai Lama belongs to the Tibetan Buddhist system, the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan Buddhist leaders. It does not belong to anybody else, not any government or any entity,” the US Ambassador at large for Religious Freedom, Samuel D. Brownback, stated during his meeting with the Dalai Lama here in the exile headquarters of the Tibetan people.
The top American diplomat arrived in here on Sunday at the special invitation of CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay to attend the First International Conference on Tibetan Performing Arts as the Chief Guest as the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) celebrates its 60th-anniversary celebrations.
Brownback, head of the State Department’s International Religious Freedom and his entourage met with the Dalai Lama for over an hour-long session at the latter’s residence before the delegation left to attend the event at TIPA.
Ambassador Brownback then condemned the CCP’s for its escalating and widespread religious persecution of people of faith and called on the regime to respect the human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all individuals everywhere all the time.
“I am here to talk about freedom; that is the basic message that I want to deliver to you,” said Brownback, the former Kansas governor and US senator.
“History has always shown that repression by governments can not stifle the spiritual aspiration of the people,” he said and added that “Tibetan culture is a treasure of humanity, and the threat it faces is an affront to the civilised world.”
The Ambassador also called on the Chinese government for the immediate release of Gedun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama recognised by the Dalai Lama and abducted by the Chinese government since 1995.
“We stand with the people of Tibet as they seek to preserve their time-honoured traditions including their right to venerate religious leaders of their choosing,” Brownback said and added that “Let me be clear! The United States shares that view,” as he reiterated yet again the US’ stand on the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
President Sangay in his address thanked the US Ambassador at large for International Religious Freedom, Samuel D. Brownback on behalf of the six million Tibetans for taking all the trouble to visit the exile headquarters of the Tibetan people.
“Ambassador has been in the forefront advocating for religious freedom for Tibetan people, Uyghurs and for people of faith all around the world,” President Sangay said.
President Sangay further described the Ambassador as one of the highest US officials to have visited Dharamshala and concluded by stating that the latter’s presence sends a strong and clear message to the Chinese government.
“Your presence sends a message that religious freedom is universal, human rights is inherent and democracy is inevitable. By your presence, you are sending a message to Beijing. I think they will hear it loud and clear that the Ambassador and the US government are with the Tibetan people. For this, we are very grateful.”
TIPA, the premier arts school in exile that promotes and preserves a wide repertoire of musical, dance and theatrical traditions of Tibet will mark the beginning of its 60th anniversary over 28 to 31 October with an International conference on Tibetan performing arts.
Tibetan Historian and Director of Amnye Machen Institute Tashi Tsering Josayma will moderate the three day international conference which will be attended by 26 scholars comprising of Tibetan and non Tibetan-from 10 countries.
Founded by the Dalai Lama on 11 August 1959 to preserve and promote Tibetan musical heritage and arts, TIPA is among the very first Tibetan institutions set up in exile by the Tibetan spiritual leader. The institute is headquartered in Dharamsala, the exile headquarter.