Over the last week or so Students for a Free Tibet has been conducting an advocacy campaign on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, calling on the Committee to verbally ask Senator Clinton about Tibet. Today, the New York Times published a list of questions from foreign policy experts they hoped the FRC would ask Clinton. Shi Yinhong, “a professor of international relations and the director of the Center for American Studies at Renmin University in Beijing,” asks:
Tibet may prove to be the most divisive issue between China and the West. There is a real possibility that China and the Obama administration will have friction or even a temporary diplomatic clash over Tibet. How will you treat this possibility? If Barack Obama is inclined to meet with the Dalai Lama, what will be your attitude? Might you or other senior members in the State Department meet with the Dalai Lama or other leaders of the Tibetan exile government?
This is a great question. I have personally been asking a number of Senate staffers ask:
“What concrete steps will you commit your office to take to support the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination, including steps to press the Chinese government to negotiate substantively with the Dalai Lama and concrete steps that the US government can take of its own accord?”
Either of these questions would be a great step forward in the treatment of Tibet as a critical issue for US-Sino relations.