Richard Gere delighted by lawmakers’ words of support for Tibet at the Subcommittee hearing

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, Dec 8: Hollywood star and Tibet activist Richard Gere was delighted by the US lawmakers words of support for Tibet at the subcommittee hearing on United States policy and human rights in Tibet, held under the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Asia and the Pacific.

“I’m totally knocked out by the words I’m hearing from all of you,” The Hill quoted Gere, the chairman of the Washington-based  International Campaign for Tibet(ICT) as saying in its report.

Richard Gere, Chairman of International Campaign for Tibet(ICT). Image- Camille Fine/The Hill

Representatives James McGovern, Brad Sherman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Ted Yoko spoke at the subcomittee hearing at the Rayburn House Office Building where Richard Gere testified.

“Human rights and personal freedoms in Tibet are already in a poor and worsening state. According to the State Department’s 2016 human rights report, the government of China engages in the severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage by, among other means, strictly curtailing the civil rights of the Tibetan population,” Rep. Ted Yoho, the subcommittee’s chairman was quoted as saying in the report.

Gere, has reportedly told the law makers that before being politicians or actors, we are human beings who understand that oppression cannot be tolerated. The Subcommittee hearing came amid efforts to advance the bipartisan Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act and a Concurrent Resolution in support of Tibet’s place in American foreign policy, ICT said.

Along with Gere, Tenzin Tethong, Director of the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia, and Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), also testified at the hearing.

“We understand that all human beings have the right to the pursuit of happiness and to avoid suffering. This is what his holiness the Dalai Lama continuously reminds us of, to look at what unites us as human beings, as compassionate people sharing our time and space on this small and very beautiful planet,” the activist said.

Gere reportedly concluded his testimony by saying , “It is now critical that the U.S. Congress takes concrete initiatives to make sure that the Tibetan Policy Act, which is law, is fully implemented and that China is consistently reminded that the U.S. stands with the Tibetan people in full support of their peaceful aspirations.”

Tibetan Policy Act is a comprehensive and pragmatic expression of Congressional support for the Tibetan people. with an objective to support the aspirations of the Tibetan people to safeguard their distinct identity.