Washington, D.C., March 10, 2009 – The Voice of America (VOA) today spotlighted Tibet 50 years
after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, with a key congressman saying President Obama should
meet with the Dalai Lama to underscore U.S. support for the region.
“I hope the President … will meet with the Dalai Lama … hold a very public meeting at the White
House … as soon as possible to convey that there has been no diminution whatsoever in our concern
and solidarity with the suffering people of Tibet,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) in an interview
with VOA Mandarin Service’s Issues and Opinions call-in television show.
Meanwhile, VOA’s Tibetan Service (www.voanews.com/Tibetan/) broadcast live the Dalai
Lama’s speech in which he reiterated his appeal for autonomy for Tibet, and said the climate of
fear in Tibet amounted to “hell on earth.”
Robert Barnett, a Tibetan expert at Columbia University in New York, said today on National
Public Radio (www.npr.org) that Tibetans living in the
countryside “are exceptionally well-informed about Tibetan history and politics and world affairs
because they were all tuning into Voice of America.”
Additionally, the Tibetan Service plans analyses of China’s policies over the past half-century,
an interview with an eyewitness to the 1959 uprising in Lhasa and a series that will look at
Tibetans living around the world.
Smith, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the Dalai Lama, a Nobel
Peace Prize laureate, is a “a man of peace” and “extraordinary character.”
He said lawmakers intend to vote this week on a nonbinding resolution that “condemns the
practices by the (Chinese) Government against the people of Tibet.” The resolution also calls for
a multilateral effort to bring about a peaceful solution to the Tibet issue. China’s foreign
minister has urged lawmakers not to pass the resolution.
Added Smith: “The Dalai Lama’s peace plan and his emphasis on autonomy is a very workable
solution.” He said he hoped the Chinese government would realize that the Dalai Lama “is not
looking for independence but autonomy within the Chinese framework.”
VOA’s Mandarin Service broadcasts 84 hours of radio and seven hours of television each week,
with many programs available on its website, www.VOANews.com/Chinese/. VOA also broadcasts in Tibetan
(www.voanews.com/Tibetan/) 42 hours weekly on radio
and two hours on television weekly.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international
broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA
broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming
every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are
produced in 45 languages.
For more information, please call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.