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Tibetan people should be able to freely practice their religion: Michael McCaul

McCaul asserted that people are free in a democracy while they are enslaved in tyranny.
Last Updated : 19 June 2024, 09:30 IST

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The Tibetan people have the right to self-determination, US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul said on Wednesday, asserting they have a unique culture and religion, and they should be able to freely practice their religion.

McCaul, who is leading the US Congressional delegation that met the Tibetan spiritual head the Dalai Lama at Dharamsala, said that is why we are here today in defiance of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Speaking at a facilitation function organised by the Dharamsala-based Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), he said even after violence and forceful removal from his home by the CCP, the Dalai Lama continues to preach tolerance, peace and forgiveness.

McCaul asserted that people are free in a democracy while they are enslaved in tyranny.

"The Tibetan people possess a distinct religion, culture and historic identity and they should have a say in their own future. You should be able to freely practice your religion and that is why we are here today in defiance of CCP warning," McCaul said.

"Our delegation received a letter from the CCP warning us not to come here, they repeated their false claim that Tibet is part of China since the 13th century but we did not let the CCP intimidate us and we are here today," he said, adding the Dalai Lama, people of Tibet and United States of America know that Tibet is not a part of China.

McCaul said the timing of this visit cannot be better as last week the House of Representatives and the Congress passed Resolve Tibet Bill, which makes it clear that Tibet has its own unique culture, language and religion, and has the right to self-determination.This bill, which will be signed in the coming days, also requires to aggressively challenge the CCP propaganda about Tibet, he added.

The delegation consisting of former US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congress members Mariannette Miller, Gregory Meeks, Nicole Malliotakis, Jim McGovern and Ami Bera led by McCaul, called on the Dalai Lama ahead of the function and held discussions.

"I presented the Dalai Lama with a windshine, which will remind him of our support," McCaul said.

"Like many of you, I wish that this meeting was happening in your home land of Tibet, but 65 years ago you were forced to flee after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) annexed Tibet and slaughtered tens of thousands of Tibetans people," he added.

McCaul said the CCP was determined to end the Tibetan culture and forcibly bring the Tibetan people under their control.

To save his people and culture, his holiness led more than 80,000 of his followers to safety to preserve their way of life for the future generations, McCaul said.

Thanks to the kindness of the Indian people, his holiness and his people were able to live freely here and practice their religion without fear of prosecution, he added.

"It is still my hope that one day his holiness the Dalai Lama and his people will return back to Tibet in peace," McCaul said.

He added that decades later the CCP continues to threaten the freedom of the Tibetan people and they have even tried to insert them into the succession of the Dalai Lama but we will not let that happen.

"It reminds us that even if the CCP takes your land, they cannot take away your culture and spirit and what the Tibetan people mean to the rest of the world, he said.

Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama while talking to the US delegation at his residence here said our goal is that people of the world should be happy and peaceful.

"We are the same human being, we all have the same right and this world belongs to humanity. We should take care of the world irrespective of what religion and tradition," he said.

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Published 19 June 2024, 09:30 IST

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