Good morning.  Thank you, Representative Smith, Senator Merkley, and my fellow distinguished commissioners for the opportunity to speak today on this timely and important topic.  And I would also like to welcome our distinguished guests – Sikyong Tsering, Mr. Gere, Ms. Tethong, and Mr. Dorjee – whose valuable insights I look forward to hearing.

We are gathered today at a critical moment for Tibet.  PRC authorities continue to wage a campaign of repression that seeks to forcibly “Sinicize” the six million Tibetans in the PRC and eliminate Tibet’s distinct religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage.

Recent reports on government-run boarding schools and involuntary, mass DNA collection in Tibetan areas shock the conscience.  These policies targeting ethnic minorities and religious practitioners are part of broader PRC efforts to reshape and undermine human rights globally, including through various acts of transnational repression.

This Administration will continue to shine a light on Tibet-related issues within our broader human rights concerns with the PRC, bilaterally and jointly with multilateral partners, and promote accountability for the PRC’s human rights abuses in Tibet and elsewhere.  As U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, I am committed to continuing this Administration’s close cooperation with Congress to sustain and deepen our strong track record of support to the Tibetan community and uphold an affirmative vision for human rights.  Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future