Senator John McCain Blames Repression for Self-immolations for Tibet

Former Republican Presidential Candidate and one the most respected figures in the US, Senator John McCain expressed concern that the Chinese government’s continued repression is pushing Tibetans in Tibet to burn themselves to death.

Speaking with China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun on a panel at the high-level Munich security conference on Saturday, Senator McCain told Zhang in front of an audience of ministers, diplomats and security officials: “It is a matter of concern when Tibetans are burning themselves to death because of the continued repression of the Tibetan people in your country.”

“There is not a way that you will be able to stifle it (peaceful protests) completely,” he added.
“I have said on many occasions and I will say again the Arab Spring is coming to China as well,” Mr McCain said.

He reiterated the United States’ firm support to the Tibetan people’s right to fundamental human rights.”There are certain universal values that we all cherish, and ambitions to achieve those inalienable rights are something the United States is probably must proud of in its entire history.” 
Mr McCain, who later shook hands with Zhang, told him: “I hope you didn’t interpret my remarks as anything other than the advocacy that I and others hold for every nation in the world, including yours.”

Since 2009, 20 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in Tibet calling for freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his homeland. (view fact sheet)

Recently a resolution on Tibet was introduced in the Senate by six Senators, of which Dr Lobsang Sangay met with five of them and requested to co-sponsor a resolution which they all agreed.

The resolution on self-immolations in Tibet and the transfer of political power to the democratic elected political head of the Tibetan people. Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) cosponsored the resolution with Senator Feinstein.

In November last year, Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay visited the US and several European countries to appeal for the international community’s intervention to end the deteriorating situation in Tibet. Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman hosted Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay and introduced Dr Sangay to other colleagues in the Senate.

Senator McCain and his colleagues extended their strong support to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Kalon Tripa. Senator McCain later tweeted on the meeting and said “Met today Lobsang Sangay, PM of Tibetan gov’t – an outstanding leader of a country that deserves its freedom”.

After assuming the charge of Kalon Tripa on 8 August 2011, Dr Lobsang Sangay first met Senator McCain during the latter’s visit to Ladakh in India in the same month. Senator McCain hosted Kalon Tripa for a dinner in New Delhi. 

Before becoming the elected leader of the Central Tibetan Administration, Dr Lobsang Sangay met Senator McCain in July 2011 at the Kalachkara teachings in Washington.

Click here to view Tibet Resolution introduced in the US Senate by Senator Dianne Feinstein on 30 January 2012.