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 McGovernTrump’s arms export rules will undermine US security and risk human rights abuses The campaign for prisoners of conscience: A call to action House majority rules spark minority fights MORE (D-Mass.), Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanLawmakers press Trump officials on implementing Russia sanctions Swastika painted on sidewalk in Colorado town: report Top Dem lawmaker pushing committee for closed-door debrief with Trump’s interpreter MORE (D-Calif.), Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenCook moves status of 6 House races as general election sprint begins The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Cuomo wins and Manafort plea deal Trump's Puerto Rico tweets spark backlash MORE (R-Fla.), and Ted YohoTheodore (Ted) Scott YohoOn The Money: Trump announces new China tariffs | Wall Street salaries hit highest level since 2008 | GOP bets the House on the economy GOP: The economy will shield us from blue wave House passes measure to identify, sanction hackers assisting in cyberattacks against US 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 RubioNikki Haley: New York Times ‘knew the facts’ about curtains and still released story March For Our Lives founder leaves group, says he regrets trying to 'embarrass' Rubio Rubio unloads on Turkish chef for 'feasting' Venezuela's Maduro: 'I got pissed' MORE (R-Fla.) stood alongside Gere as he delivered a message on Twitter about the “human rights and oppression” in Tibet: