The United States has much to gain by maintaining good relations with China, but the American people have much to lose by not supporting self-determination by the Tibetans. The Tibetan people have witnessed the systematic and brutal destruction of their unique 2,000-year-old culture and religion. They are a profoundly peaceful people, so it has apparently taken them 35 years to express their frustration at the daily oppression they have endured. We must support their efforts to gain freedom to live their lives and practice their religion according to their own desires.
The American people have strongly dedicated themselves to the restoration of human rights in such places as Haiti, Chile, the Philippines, Afghanistan and South Africa. The situation in Tibet is as desperate as these. In many cases the Reagan Administration has been much less committed to human rights around the world than the American people. That is why we must lead the world and our government in demanding freedom and human rights for the people of Tibet.