Almost a quarter century ago, my wife, Annette, and I were in Nepal where we met the Tibetan community. And it was through their passionate commitment to this incredible man of peace that Annette and I became involved with His Holiness.
And it was Annette who, over two decades ago, first invited him to the Congress. There was no such a meeting as we have here today. A half-dozen of us met in a small committee room, and His Holiness issued his principles of peace, to which he is so passionately committed today.
What accounts for the rise of this humble Buddhist monk from near-obscurity to the global phenomenon that he has become? It is not lobbies. It is not economic power. It is not political influence. It is moral authority.
At a moment in world history when nothing is in as short a supply as moral authority, this humble Buddhist monk has an inexhaustible supply. And this accounts for the respect, the admiration, the love that people have for him across the globe.
So let me take this opportunity again to turn to the people in Beijing with good advice. There is nothing that will guarantee the right atmosphere for the Beijing Olympics more certainly and more forcefully than you inviting this man of peace to Beijing for serious discussions and, once and for all, resolving the dispute between you and His Holiness.
He accepts the sovereignty of China. He is not a “splittist.” He merely wants religious and cultural autonomy for his own people, that they so richly deserve. I want our friends in Beijing to know that while occasionally we look like a divided country, we are all united, the President and Mrs. Bush and the Speaker and all of us across the aisle in making this plea: Let this man of peace visit Beijing.