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temptation is terrible, can't resist - just thought some of you might
like to know, you know, its about the burma lobby thing, like what are
these senators here in vt doing about suu kyi and sanctions, anyone
ds which in french means....
> 3 Vermont senators urge Albright to press Middlebury Tibetan's
> case with Chinese
> WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and James Jeffords have
> written to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright urging her to raise the
> case of imprisoned Tibetan musician Ngawang Choephel when she meets with
> Chinese leaders in Beijing later this month. The February 6 letter, which
> was co-signed by 16 U.S. Senators, noted that Choephel, a former Fulbright
> scholar at Middlebury College in Vermont, was recently sentenced to an
> 18-year prison term on allegations that he spied for the Dalai Lama.
> "It is important that we keep up the pressure on the Chinese Government on
> behalf of Ngawang. He has hundreds of friends in Vermont and elsewhere who
> are concerned about his welfare and appalled at the injustice of his
> imprisonment," said Jeffords, who has previously written to administration
> officials and Chinese authorities about Choephel.
> "We need to use every opportunity to focus attention on the arrogant,
> unjustified sentencing of Ngawang Choephel," said Leahy. "This injustice
> shows a total disregard by the Chinese Government for basic human rights."
> Leahy questioned President Jiang Zemin and other high officials of the
> Chinese Government about Choephel's whereabouts and welfare when he visited
> Beijing in November, before officials announced the sentence.
> The two Vermont Senators also co-sponsored a Senate resolution which Sen.
> Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) introduced on January 21 calling on the
> Chinese Government to release Choephel immediately and unconditionally.
> Choephel's plight has received increased attention in recent weeks. A dozen
> well-known musicians, including Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow, wrote Vice
> President Gore this week asking him to cancel an anticipated visit to China
> this spring unless Choephel is released. The New York Times, Washington
> Post, Boston Globe, and several other newspapers have also condemned
> China's imprisonment of Choephel.
> Choephel, a Tibetan raised in exile in India, was arrested by Chinese
> authorities in August of 1995 while visiting Tibet to conduct research on
> local folk culture, his academic specialty. He was held incommunicado for
> over a year until his conviction in a secret trial in December 1996.
> Attached is a copy of the letter.
> February 6, 1997
> The Honorable Madeleine K. Albright
> Secretary of State
> Department of State
> Washington, DC 20520
> Dear Madam Secretary:
> At your recent confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations
> Committee, you underscored continuing differences between the U.S. and
> China on human rights issues, including Tibet. We appreciate your concern
> for these issues and want to bring to your attention a particularly
> egregious human rights case involving a Tibetan with strong ties to the
> United States.
> In late December, Chinese authorities sentenced Ngawang Choephel, a Tibetan
> refugee and former Fulbright scholar at Middlebury College, to an
> eighteen-year prison term. The sentence followed a secret trial and over a
> year of incommunicado detention of Choephel. Beijing claims that Choephel,
> while visiting Tibet in 1995, engaged in espionage activities funded by
> "some Americans." In fact, Choephel is a respected scholar of
> ethnomusicology who went to China to document traditional Tibetan song and
> dance, which had also been the focus of his studies at Middlebury. As State
> Department spokesman Nicholas Burns told the press on October 24, there is
> no credible evidence of the charges against Choephel.
> The extraordinary eighteen-year sentence given Choephel is harsh even by
> Chinese standards and has outraged his many friends here and those who are
> concerned about China's suppression of civil and cultural rights in Tibet.
> Notably, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and
> several other newspapers have condemned China's treatment of Choephel.
> Attached is a copy of a resolution which was introduced in the Senate on
> January 21, calling on the Chinese Government to release Mr. Choephel
> immediately and unconditionally.
> In keeping with the commitment you made at your confirmation hearing to
> "address frankly the violation of internationally-recognized human rights .
> . . whether in Burma, Belgrade, or Beijing," we ask that you and ranking
> officials at the State Department speak out publicly about Mr. Choephel and
> raise his case in discussions with Chinese leaders. Your upcoming visit to
> Beijing and the anticipated visit to Washington this spring of Chinese
> Foreign Minister Qian Qichen present special opportunities to emphasize the
> importance the U.S. attributes to the Choephel case and respect for human
> Finally, we urge the administration to redouble its efforts to seek
> adoption of a resolution on human rights in China and Tibet in the United
> Nations Commission on Human Rights. The worsening human rights situation in
> China -- of which the Choephel case is only one example -- demands a strong
> and principled international response.
> We are aware that many factors must be taken into consideration in devising
> U.S. policy toward China. Our plea is that human rights concerns,
> especially compelling cases like that of Mr. Choephel, figure prominently
> in all policy deliberations about China and in all high-level discussions
> with Beijing. We look forward to hearing how you plan to address the
> Choephel case in the context of our policy toward China. Thank you for your
> consideration of this matter.
> [Signed by Senators Jeffords, Leahy, Moynihan, Thomas, Kennedy, D'Amato,
> Kerry, Kerrey, Snowe, Lieberman, Wellstone, Daschle, Reed, Kohl, Durbin,
> and Feingold.]