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Tibetan Uprising Anniversary Marked by VOA


VOA spotlights Tibet 50 years after a failed uprising against Chinese rule

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 askvoa@voanews.com.

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