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Dharamshala, India — Yesterday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul delivered remarks where he called for peace and freedom for the people of Tibet. He emphasized continued U.S. support for the Tibetan people through landmark legislation such as the Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to undermine their sovereignty. 

— Remarks as delivered —

Tashi delek. 

Thank you Mr. President [Penpa Tsering] and I want to thank the members of the delegation. I also want to thank my beautiful wife Linda for being here as well. Thank you, Linda.

I also want to thank the school children who performed. That was absolutely amazing. Absolutely amazing. 

It demonstrates why we have to keep the Tibetan culture alive and well. 

Let me just say, it’s an honor to be here today and to lead this bipartisan delegation from the United States Congress to meet His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

Like many of you, I wish this meeting was happening in your homeland of Tibet, but you were forced to flee 65 years ago after the Chinese Communist Party annexed Tibet and slaughtered tens of thousands of innocent Tibetans.

To save his people and his culture, His Holiness led more than 80,000 of his followers on a perilous journey — 4,000 kilometers —  through the Himalayas to safety.

They left behind their homes, their friends, and even some of their family. All with the hope of preserving their way of life for future generations.

Thanks to the kindness of the Indian people, His Holiness and his people are able to live freely here and practice their religion without fear of persecution.

But it is still my hope that one day, the Dalai Lama and his people will return to their home in Tibet in peace.

Decades later, the Chinese Communist Party continues to threaten the freedom of the Tibetan people. And they have even attempted to insert themselves into the succession of the Dalai Lama, but we will not let that happen.

Even after the violence and the forcible removal from his homeland by the CCP, His Holiness continues to preach tolerance and peace and forgiveness.

He reminds us that even if the CCP takes your land, they cannot take away your culture. They cannot take away your spirit. And they cannot take away what the Tibetan people mean to the rest of the world.

Yesterday, I visited the Temple of Democracy here. Chairman Xi says democracy doesn’t work. Chairman Xi is wrong, democracy does work. 

For in democracies, people are free. Under tyranny, people are enslaved. 

Just this week, our delegation received a letter from the CCP warning us not to come here. They repeated their false claimthat Tibet has been a part of China since the 13th Century. But we did not let the CCP intimidate us, for we are here today.

For the Dalai Lama knows this is not true that Tibet is part of China. And the people of Tibet know that is not true. And the United States of America knows that is not true.

The Tibetan people possess a distinct religious, cultural, and historic identity. They should have a say in their own future — you should. And you should freely practiced their religion.

And that is why we are still here today – in defiance of this warning.

The timing of our visit couldn’t be better. We are here just one week after the House of Representatives and the Congress passed the [Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act].

This bill makes it clear the United States believes Tibet has its own unique language, religion, and culture and has a right to self-determination. The bill also requires the State Department to aggressively challenge CCP propaganda about Tibet.

So along with my friend, Congressman Jim McGovern, who is also here today and the author of the bill, I am proud to have sponsored this legislation.

And I want to thank him for working with me to get this bill — and Congressman Meeks on the committee — to get this bill to the  president’s desk where it will be signed in the coming days. 

In my private meeting with His Holiness, I presented him with wind chimes that play America the Beautiful. I told him that wind cannot be seen, but it is a powerful force that is always present.

My hope is that this wind chime reminds him that even when our delegation leaves here, that America the Beautiful will support Tibet to remain a powerful force that is always present.

Dalai Lama’s [are a] manifestation of the Buddha of Compassion. It is said that original Buddha of Compassion chose to reincarnate so that he could continue to serve the people for generations.

I see that compassion not only in His Holiness, but in all of you – the Tibetan people. So thank you for having us, me and the delegation here today.

Let me close by saying, “tujay-chay.” Thank you.