Archive for May 2010
Following is the full text of the proceedings in the United States House of Representatives on May 19, 2010 when it debated and passed a resolution expressing solidarity with the victims of the earthquake in Kyegudo in Tibet. [Congressional Record: May 19, 2010 (House)] [Page H3613-H3615] From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov] [DOCID:cr19my10-113] EXPRESSING CONDOLENCES TO CHINA FOR TRAGIC EARTHQUAKE IN QINGHAI PROVINCE Mr. McMAHON. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 1324) expressing condolences and sympathies for the people of China following the tragic earthquake in the Qinghai province of the Peoples Republic of China on April 14, 2010. The Clerk read the title of the resolution. The text of the resolution is as follows: H. Res. 1324 Whereas, on April 14, 2010, an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale struck the Qinghai province of southwest China; Whereas the China Earthquake Networks Administration confirmed the earthquake struck in Yushu County, a remote and mountainous area sparsely populated by farmers and herdsmen; Whereas the population of Yushu County is overwhelmingly poor, with rural residents earning an average of $342 a year, largely from agriculture; Whereas at least 18 aftershocks measuring more than 6.0 on the Richter scale followed the quake throughout the day in the seismically active zone; Whereas over 2,000 people have been killed and over 10,000 injured, numbers that are feared to climb; Whereas an unknown number of individuals remain buried in debris as soldiers work around the clock to dig them out by hand; Whereas at least 40 people remain trapped under a collapsed office building that houses the local Departments of Commerce and Industry of the Peoples Republic of China and many children and young adults still lie beneath the rubble of collapsed primary and vocational schools; Whereas officials expect the death toll will rise because rescue efforts are stymied by a lack of heavy equipment and the mountainous terrain; Whereas medical supplies and tents are also in short supply; Whereas China Central Television and the Red Cross Society of China estimate that 90 percent of homes and 70 percent of schools in the region have been destroyed; Whereas the region that includes Yushu County is located on the Tibetan plateau, and many villages sit well above 16,000 feet, with freezing temperatures not uncommon in mid-April; Whereas by the evening of April 14, 2010, temperatures in the county seat had already reached 27 degrees Fahrenheit; Whereas thousands of Tibetan monks, many of whom traveled long distances from other Tibetan areas, have played a vital role in relief efforts, providing food and assistance, and tending to the basic and spiritual needs of the victims; Whereas in order to prevent a flood, workers are racing to release water from a reservoir in the disaster area after discovering that a crack had formed in the dam due to the earthquake; Whereas many survivors have already fled to the surrounding mountains, amid fears that a nearby dam could be ruptured by the aftershocks hitting the area; Whereas news media reported that 700 paramilitary officers are already working in the quake zone and that more than 4,000 others will be sent to assist in search and rescue efforts; Whereas the Civil Affairs Ministry said it would also send 5,000 tents and 100,000 coats and blankets; and Whereas the international community is sending much needed supplies and supporting local Chinese relief efforts: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives-- (1) expresses its deepest condolences and sympathies for the loss of life and the physical and psychological damage caused by the earthquake of April 14, 2010; (2) expresses solidarity with the people of the Qinghai province, Tibetan-Americans, Chinese-Americans, and all those who have lost loved ones or have otherwise been affected by the tragedy, including rescue and humanitarian workers; (3) reaffirms the United States pledge, issued by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to stand ready to assist the people of China during this difficult period; and [[Page H3614]] (4) expresses support for the recovery and long-term reconstruction needs of the residents of the areas affected by the earthquake, including the restoration of monasteries and other Tibetan Buddhist sites that are integral to the preservation of Tibetan culture and religious traditions. The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from New York (Mr. McMahon) and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe) each will control 20 minutes. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York. General Leave Mr. McMAHON. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the resolution under consideration. The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New York? There was no objection. Mr. McMAHON. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution. I thank my colleague, Congressman Manzullo of Illinois, for his support, and yield myself such time as I may consume. Madam Speaker, on April 14, 2010, an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale struck the Qinghai province of southwest China. With over 18 aftershocks measuring more than 6.0 on the Richter scale, the devastation and suffering that followed was immeasurable. The earthquake killed over 2,000 residents of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, which is 97 percent Tibetan and has been a cradle for Tibetan culture and religion for centuries. Furthermore, in the aftermath of the quake, countless schools, government buildings, and local monasteries stood in ruins. First on the scene were local Tibetan Buddhist monks who worked in very treacherous conditions to stabilize schools, clinics, and homes to rescue survivors. These monks, many working in their robes with the most basic of tools, worked for hours without breaking until heavy machinery could be moved in. They were joined in their efforts by local and national Chinese authorities who worked in conjunction with the community groups on search and rescue and now join in the rebuilding. The worst-hit town of Kyegu still contains over 100,000 homeless residents, on top of the 20,000 migrants, described as ``mostly herders and farmers,'' already living there. Yet, 5 weeks after the earthquake, we are seeing the silver lining, as plans to reconstruct all of Kyegu, including the destroyed Buddhist holy sites, and build new homes for those who tragically lost their own, take place. On May 1, 2010, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced a plan to rebuild Kyegu in an ``eco-friendly'' manner during a meeting on postdisaster rehabilitation and reconstruction. I commend the Chinese government's efforts to rehabilitate and modernize the region, but encourage them also to include the local Tibetan population in their reconstruction plans, given the distinctiveness of the region as a center of Tibetan culture. On behalf of the over 50,000 Chinese Americans who reside in my congressional district, I express my condolences for all the people of the Qinghai province, Tibetan Americans, Chinese Americans, and all those who have lost loved ones or are otherwise affected by this tragedy, including rescue and humanitarian workers. I also want to commend Ambassador Huntsmann, who presented a check for $100,000 to the Chinese Red Cross Society for their efforts to rebuild after the Qinghai earthquake. Ambassador Huntsmann's remarks demonstrated that we stand with the Chinese people to rebuild Qinghai and further develop stronger ties between our two nations. Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time. Mr. POE of Texas. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. I rise in support of this resolution addressing the tragic earthquake which took over 2,000 lives and left over 10,000 injured when it struck on April 14, 2010. I would, however, like to mention an omission in the official American response to this tragedy--one that is only partially rectified in the wording of this resolution. The epicenter of the earthquake struck on the Tibetan plateau and the vast majority of victims were from Tibet. Yet the message of condolence issued in the name of the Secretary of State on April 15, while ``offering thoughts and prayers for the people of China on this difficult day,'' made no mention of the thousands of Tibetans who lost their lives, their homes, and their places of worship. Madam Speaker, political correctness has no place when addressing human tragedy, no matter where it occurs in the world. While we mourn the death of both Tibetans and the Chinese migrant workers who were in the area, we should not ignore the fact that this was one more blow to the Tibetan heartland. The damage to Tibetan monasteries caused by this earthquake is only the latest event in the sad chapter of the devastation of this culture over the past half century. The war waged against Tibetan culture began with the Chinese People's Liberation Army invasion of the Tibetan plateau in 1959. It continued in the frenzy of fanatic young Red Guards smashing statues of Buddha and assaulting monks and nuns during the infamous ``Cultural Revolution.'' It continued right up until 2 years ago, when Beijing cracked down once again on dissent by rounding up Tibetan political prisoners and in closing the monasteries. It has been the United States' stated policy since the passage almost a decade ago of our late colleague, Tom Lantos' Tibetan Policy Act, to work to protect the Tibetan culture, language, and their religion. Yet the administration was noticeably silent regarding this latest blow to Tibetan culture and regarding the massive loss of their lives. The Dalai Lama, recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal, addressed this tragic earthquake with these words of appeals. He said, ``To fulfill the wishes of many of the people there, I am eager to go there myself to offer them comfort.'' I submit for the Record the brief remarks the Dalai Lama made on April 14 and April 17, 2010. [From dalailama.com, Apr. 14, 2010] His Holiness Offers His Condolences to the Victims of the Earthquake in Kyigudo I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and property as a result of the earthquake that struck Kyigudo (Chinese--Yushu) this morning. We pray for those who have lost their lives in this tragedy and their families and others who have been affected. A special prayer service is being held at the main temple (Tsuglagkhang) here at Dharamsala on their behalf. It is my hope that all possible assistance and relief work will reach these people. I am also exploring how I, too, can contribute to these efforts. ____ [From dalailama.com, Apr. 17, 2010] His Holiness the Dalai Lama Eager To Visit Earthquake Affected Area As I mentioned briefly soon after I heard the news, I was deeply saddened by the effects of the devastating earthquake in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Tibetan: Kyigudo) of Qinghai Province which resulted in the tragic loss of many lives, a great number of injured and severe loss of property. Because of the physical distance between us, at present I am unable to comfort those directly affected, but I would like them to know I am praying for them. I commend the monastic community, young people and many other individuals from nearby areas for their good neighbourly support and assistance to the families of those who have lost everything. May your exemplary compassion continue to grow. This kind of voluntary work in the service of others really puts the bodhisattva aspiration into practice. I also applaud the Chinese authorities for visiting the affected areas, especially Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who has not only personally offered comfort to the affected communities, but has also overseen the relief work. I am very appreciative too that the media have been free to report on the tragedy and its aftermath. In 2008, when a similar earthquake struck Sichuan, Chinese central and local government leaders and auxiliary authorities took great pains to provide relief, allow free access to the media, as well as clearing the way for international relief agencies to provide assistance as required. I applauded these positive moves then and appeal for such ease of access on this occasion too. The Tibetan community in exile would like to offer whatever support and assistance it can towards the relief work. We hope to be able to do this through the proper and appropriate channels as soon as possible. When Sichuan was rocked by an earthquake two years ago, I wished to visit the affected areas to pray and comfort the people there, but I was unable to do so. However, when Taiwan was struck by a typhoon last year, I was able to visit the affected families [[Page H3615]] and pray with them for those who had perished in that disaster. In providing some solace to the people concerned, I was happy to be able to do something useful. This time the location of the earthquake, Kyigudo (Chinese: Yushu), lies in Qinghai Province, which happens to be where both the late Panchen Lama and I were born. To fulfill the wishes of many of the people there, I am eager to go there myself to offer them comfort. In conclusion, I appeal to governments, international aid organisations and other agencies to extend whatever assistance they can to enable the families of those devastated by this tragedy to rebuild their lives. At the same time, I also call on the survivors of this catastrophe to recognise what has happened as the workings of karma and to transform this adversity into something positive, keeping their hopes up and meeting setbacks with courage as they struggle to restore what they have lost. Once again, I pray for those who have lost their lives as well as for the well being of those who have survived. I call upon the administration to hear the cries of the Tibetan victims of this tragic national disaster and to advocate for a visit by their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. I urge Beijing leadership to show some mercy and allow a visit to the earthquake area by the Dalai Lama as well--a location very near the site where he was actually born. Only when their spiritual leader is allowed to come and offer solace to their grief and suffering can the Tibetan victims of this national tragic disaster truly begin to heal. Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time. Mr. McMAHON. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. Just to continue on a point that I failed to mention, the issue of the Tibetan people is, of course, very near and dear to me as well. I have in my district the only Tibetan cultural museum in North America. And it's a site that we have worked with and honored for years--the importance of the Tibetan people, their culture, and what it means to the whole world, and that they are allowed to continue to survive and flourish in this world. And so on many points I agree with the gentleman from Texas. I have no further requests for time, and yield back the balance of my time. The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from New York (Mr. McMahon) that the House suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 1324. The question was taken. The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds being in the affirmative, the ayes have it. Mr. McMAHON. Madam Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not present. The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX and the Chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed. The point of no quorum is considered withdrawn. ____________________
Former First Lady, Laura Bush, has said the Dalai Lama is “a dear and gentle man whose example is an inspiration.” Her reference to the Dalai Lama is contained in her new memoir, “Spoken from the Heart” that was released this month here in the United States.
She says the Dalai Lama “embodies the hopes for freedom in Tibet” and “is a man who has been denied his rights and his homeland since he was a boy.” Calling President George Bush as “George”, Mrs. Bush says, “George believes that acknowledging the Dalai Lama is a special American responsibility. The world looks to the United States for leadership, and if we do not stand up for freedom, who will.”
Following is the full text of Mrs. Bush reference to the Dalai Lama in her book. The meeting mentioned below took place in 2005. President Bush also subsequently met the Dalai Lama in October 2007.
“On November 9, the Dalai Lama visited George and me for the second time at the White House. The Dalai Lama is a dear and gentle man whose example is an inspiration, he eloquently embodies the hopes for freedom in Tibet. Once, at the White House, he tickled a ramrod-straight, stoic Marine guard under his chin, saying, “Smile.” The Marine did. But underneath his soft nature is a man who has been denied his rights and his homeland since he was a boy. He told us that he genuinely feared for Tibet, feared that its culture would be erased from memory as China settled vast numbers of its citizens inside Tibet’s mountainous, landlocked region. George believes that acknowledging the Dalai Lama is a special American responsibility. The world looks to the United States for leadership, and if we do not stand up for freedom, who will.”