Richard Gere welcomes lawmakers' words of support for Tibet
© Camille Fine

Richard Gere says he’s “knocked out” by lawmakers’ words of support for Tibetans.

“I’m going to be incredibly blunt with you,” the “Pretty Woman” star said Wednesday at a House Foreign Affairs Committee subcommittee hearing focused on U.S. policy towards Tibet.

“I’m totally knocked out by the words I’m hearing from all of you,” Gere exclaimed after Reps. James McGovernJames (Jim) Patrick McGovernRichard Gere welcomes lawmakers' words of support for Tibet Dem calls on feds to rewrite food stamp rule House Dems to push for transit tax break revival MORE (D-Mass.), Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanHouse Dem pledges impeachment vote after Trump's 'sh--hole countries' remark Trump earns praise for support of Iranian protesters Former aide: ‘No reason to believe’ Dem rep would’ve acted on harassment complaints MORE (D-Calif.), Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenRepublicans seek to distance themselves from Trump remarks The Hill's 12:30 Report GOP lawmaker calls Trump ‘s---hole’ remark ‘reprehensible’ and ‘racist’ MORE (R-Fla.), and Ted YohoTheodore (Ted) Scott YohoTrouble brewing as GOP struggles with spending bill votes A retreat in American diplomacy Trump huddles with transportation leaders ahead of expected infrastructure plan MORE (R-Fla.) spoke.

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“Human rights and personal freedoms in Tibet are already in a poor and worsening state. According to the State Department’s 2016 human rights report, the government of China engages in the severe repression of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage by, among other means, strictly curtailing the civil rights of the Tibetan population,” Yoho, the subcommittee’s chairman, said.

Gere, chairman of the board of directors for the International Campaign for Tibet, said, “I’ve seen this evolve over decades now, how people talk about Tibet and from what part of their being they speak. And this is coming from a deep place in all of you.”

“I think everyone in this room is feeling this from a deep place, how important this is — maybe not strategically, but humanly,” he added.

“Before being politicians or actors, we are human beings who understand that oppression cannot be tolerated,” Gere, 68, told lawmakers in prepared remarks. “We understand that all human beings have the right to the pursuit of happiness and to avoid suffering. This is what his holiness the Dalai Lama continuously reminds us of, to look at what unites us as human beings, as compassionate people sharing our time and space on this small and very beautiful planet.”

While Gere praised President Trump for reportedly raising the issue of human rights with Chinese authorities during a trip last month to China, the actor knocked the commander in chief for not going far enough.

“President Trump and Secretary [of State Rex] Tillerson did not publicly highlight the lack of respect of human rights in Tibet or the need for China to restart the dialogue process with the Dalai Lama. Now, this is out of line, completely, with the provisions of the Tibetan Policy Act,” said Gere, a longtime advocate for human rights in the region and frequent visitor to the Hill.

“It is now critical that the U.S. Congress takes concrete initiatives to make sure that the Tibetan Policy Act, which is law, is fully implemented and that China is consistently reminded that the U.S. stands with the Tibetan people in full support of their peaceful aspirations.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Cybersecurity: Bipartisan bill aims to deter election interference | Russian hackers target Senate | House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon | DHS giving 'active defense' cyber tools to private sector Senators unveil bipartisan push to deter future election interference Puerto Rico's children need recovery funds MORE (R-Fla.) stood alongside Gere as he delivered a message on Twitter about the “human rights and oppression” in Tibet: