Washington D.C. — U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and a group of bipartisan colleagues, joins Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) ain a letter to Uzra Zeya, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights at the U.S. Department of State, ahead of her expected appointment as Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, advocating for a U.S. policy toward Tibet that protects the rights, autonomy, and dignity of the Tibetan people. The letter also calls for a policy that further validates Tibet’s distinct political, ethnic, cultural, and religious identity apart from that of the People’s Republic of China. 


In the letter, the senators outlined various steps that the Biden Administration, and Congress, can take to advance U.S. policy on Tibet, including: 

  • Engaging with His Holiness the Dalai Lama;
  • Deepening engagement with the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in Exile; 
  • Supporting religious freedom for the Tibetan people;
  • Advocating on behalf of Tibetan political prisoners;
  • Expanding the United States’ access to Tibet;
  • Reinvigorating a political initiative to enhance Sino-Tibetan dialogue;
  • Reaffirming the unresolved nature of Tibet’s political status and the PRC’s obligation to provide meaningful autonomy to Tibetans; 
  • Addressing obstacles faced by Tibetan refugees in Nepal;
  • Supporting the preservation of Tibetan language and culture; and
  • Prioritizing multilateral coordination on policy initiatives pertaining to Tibet.


Joining Rubio and Leahy in sending the letter were Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Angus King (I-Maine), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.). A companion letter, which was signed by a group of bipartisan members in the House of Representatives, was led by Representatives Jim McGovern (MA-02) and Chris Smith (NJ-04).


“Tibet matters to us, not only as an issue that is important to our constituents and the Tibetan-American community, but also as a tangible manifestation of a principled foreign policy that prioritizes human rights and the quest for human dignity,” the senators wrote. “We stand ready to work with you on this urgent moral issue.” 


The full text of the letter is here.