Richard Gere Takes Fight for Tibet Against China’s ‘Propaganda Machine’ to Congress

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Hollywood superstar Richard Gere testified before Congress this week, and made the rounds with lawmakers, to condemn what he called China’s “genocide,” “crimes against humanity” and “longstanding brutality” in Tibet.

Gere, along with several other Tibetan activists and human rights experts, testified on Tuesday before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), detailing how the Chinese Communist Party had coopted Tibetan Buddhism, trapped Tibetan nomads in “New Socialist Villages,” and separated Tibetan students from their parents through the coercive boarding school system, meant to ensure Tibetan children do not know their language or traditional faith. Gere testified in his capacity as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Campaign for Tibet.

Gere also participated in a rally on Capitol Hill to mark the annual Tibet Lobby Day, which Tibetan organizations observed on Monday and Tuesday.

The rally, the Tibetan news organization Phayul reported on Thursday, largely focused on advocating for lawmakers to reintroduce a bill known as the Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Conflict Act, or the Resolve Tibet Act (RTA), that would demand the Chinese Communist Party accept negotiations with the head of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama.

Communist mass murderer Mao Zedong invaded and colonized Tibet in 1951 and has been implementing policies to subjugate the indigenous population for decades. The officially atheist Communist Party has emphasized eradicating Tibetan Buddhism in particular, forcing the Dalai Lama into exile in India and disappearing the then-six-year-old Panchen Lama, another high-ranking living Buddha, in 1995. The human rights organization Freedom House ranked Tibet the least free territory in the world, alongside Syria and South Sudan, in its annual “Freedom in the World” report published this month.

In his testimony to Congress, Gere emphasized the modern aspects of China’s persecution of Tibetans, most ominously the use of pervasive surveillance technology and the documenting of the DNA of as many ethnic Tibetans by the government as possible.

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