Lobsang Sangay, President of the Tibetan government-in-exile, met newly-appointed US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues on October 15. Sangay called it a great honour to meet the US official as it was the first time in six decades that a President of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was formally invited inside the State Department.
“I want to thank the State Department for acknowledging the democratically elected leader of CTA and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for approving the visit. History is made today!” wrote Sangay in a Facebook post.
On October 14, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo named Robert Destro as US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. He announced that Destro will address the dire human rights situation Tibetans face and will serve as the Trump Administration’s conduit to the Tibetan diaspora on priority issues.
Destro said that he looks forward to engaging Tibetans around the world to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms for Tibet in China and beyond. He stressed that the United States will continue to seek a dialogue between China and Dalai Lama, protecting Tibetans’ unique culture, and promoting sustainable development in Tibetan communities.
I am proud to serve as the @StateDept’s Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. I look forward to engaging Tibetans and our partners around the world to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms for Tibet in the PRC and beyond. https://t.co/jGBCWUP9dp— Assistant Secretary Robert A. Destro (@DRL_AS) October 14, 2020
Earlier this year, the United States renewed its call for the release of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima who was recognised as Tibetan Buddhism’s 11th Panchen Lama at the age of six. Nyima disappeared in 1995 soon after Dalai Lama recognised him as the reincarnation of Panchen Lama, the second most senior figure in Tibetan Buddhism's largest school.
Sam Brownback, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, said that the United States has no idea about the whereabouts of Panchen Lama and it continues to press Chinese authorities for his release. The American diplomat reiterated that the Chinese Communist Party has no right to appoint the next Dalai Lama as they continue to assert the contrary. However, China’s foreign spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that Nyima has a “stable job” and neither he nor his family wants to be disturbed in their “normal lives”.