U.S. Cogress discusses Tibet Earthquake Solidarity Resolution

Following is the full text of the proceedings in the United States House of Representatives on May 19, 2010 when it debated and passed a resolution expressing solidarity with the victims of the earthquake in Kyegudo in Tibet.

[Congressional Record: May 19, 2010 (House)]
[Page H3613-H3615]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]


  Mr. McMAHON. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to 
the resolution (H. Res. 1324) expressing condolences and sympathies for 
the people of China following the tragic earthquake in the Qinghai 
province of the Peoples Republic of China on April 14, 2010.
  The Clerk read the title of the resolution.
  The text of the resolution is as follows:

                              H. Res. 1324

       Whereas, on April 14, 2010, an earthquake measuring 6.9 on 
     the Richter scale struck the Qinghai province of southwest 
       Whereas the China Earthquake Networks Administration 
     confirmed the earthquake struck in Yushu County, a remote and 
     mountainous area sparsely populated by farmers and herdsmen;
       Whereas the population of Yushu County is overwhelmingly 
     poor, with rural residents earning an average of $342 a year, 
     largely from agriculture;
       Whereas at least 18 aftershocks measuring more than 6.0 on 
     the Richter scale followed the quake throughout the day in 
     the seismically active zone;
       Whereas over 2,000 people have been killed and over 10,000 
     injured, numbers that are feared to climb;
       Whereas an unknown number of individuals remain buried in 
     debris as soldiers work around the clock to dig them out by 
       Whereas at least 40 people remain trapped under a collapsed 
     office building that houses the local Departments of Commerce 
     and Industry of the Peoples Republic of China and many 
     children and young adults still lie beneath the rubble of 
     collapsed primary and vocational schools;
       Whereas officials expect the death toll will rise because 
     rescue efforts are stymied by a lack of heavy equipment and 
     the mountainous terrain;
       Whereas medical supplies and tents are also in short 
       Whereas China Central Television and the Red Cross Society 
     of China estimate that 90 percent of homes and 70 percent of 
     schools in the region have been destroyed;
       Whereas the region that includes Yushu County is located on 
     the Tibetan plateau, and many villages sit well above 16,000 
     feet, with freezing temperatures not uncommon in mid-April;
       Whereas by the evening of April 14, 2010, temperatures in 
     the county seat had already reached 27 degrees Fahrenheit;
       Whereas thousands of Tibetan monks, many of whom traveled 
     long distances from other Tibetan areas, have played a vital 
     role in relief efforts, providing food and assistance, and 
     tending to the basic and spiritual needs of the victims;
       Whereas in order to prevent a flood, workers are racing to 
     release water from a reservoir in the disaster area after 
     discovering that a crack had formed in the dam due to the 
       Whereas many survivors have already fled to the surrounding 
     mountains, amid fears that a nearby dam could be ruptured by 
     the aftershocks hitting the area;
       Whereas news media reported that 700 paramilitary officers 
     are already working in the quake zone and that more than 
     4,000 others will be sent to assist in search and rescue 
       Whereas the Civil Affairs Ministry said it would also send 
     5,000 tents and 100,000 coats and blankets; and
       Whereas the international community is sending much needed 
     supplies and supporting local Chinese relief efforts: Now, 
     therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
       (1) expresses its deepest condolences and sympathies for 
     the loss of life and the physical and psychological damage 
     caused by the earthquake of April 14, 2010;
       (2) expresses solidarity with the people of the Qinghai 
     province, Tibetan-Americans, Chinese-Americans, and all those 
     who have lost loved ones or have otherwise been affected by 
     the tragedy, including rescue and humanitarian workers;
       (3) reaffirms the United States pledge, issued by Secretary 
     of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to stand ready to assist the 
     people of China during this difficult period; and

[[Page H3614]]

       (4) expresses support for the recovery and long-term 
     reconstruction needs of the residents of the areas affected 
     by the earthquake, including the restoration of monasteries 
     and other Tibetan Buddhist sites that are integral to the 
     preservation of Tibetan culture and religious traditions.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. McMahon) and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe) each will 
control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York.

                             General Leave

  Mr. McMAHON. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous material on the resolution under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from New York?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. McMAHON. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of this 
resolution. I thank my colleague, Congressman Manzullo of Illinois, for 
his support, and yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Madam Speaker, on April 14, 2010, an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the 
Richter scale struck the Qinghai province of southwest China. With over 
18 aftershocks measuring more than 6.0 on the Richter scale, the 
devastation and suffering that followed was immeasurable. The 
earthquake killed over 2,000 residents of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous 
Prefecture, which is 97 percent Tibetan and has been a cradle for 
Tibetan culture and religion for centuries. Furthermore, in the 
aftermath of the quake, countless schools, government buildings, and 
local monasteries stood in ruins.
  First on the scene were local Tibetan Buddhist monks who worked in 
very treacherous conditions to stabilize schools, clinics, and homes to 
rescue survivors. These monks, many working in their robes with the 
most basic of tools, worked for hours without breaking until heavy 
machinery could be moved in. They were joined in their efforts by local 
and national Chinese authorities who worked in conjunction with the 
community groups on search and rescue and now join in the rebuilding.
  The worst-hit town of Kyegu still contains over 100,000 homeless 
residents, on top of the 20,000 migrants, described as ``mostly herders 
and farmers,'' already living there. Yet, 5 weeks after the earthquake, 
we are seeing the silver lining, as plans to reconstruct all of Kyegu, 
including the destroyed Buddhist holy sites, and build new homes for 
those who tragically lost their own, take place.
  On May 1, 2010, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced a plan to 
rebuild Kyegu in an ``eco-friendly'' manner during a meeting on 
postdisaster rehabilitation and reconstruction. I commend the Chinese 
government's efforts to rehabilitate and modernize the region, but 
encourage them also to include the local Tibetan population in their 
reconstruction plans, given the distinctiveness of the region as a 
center of Tibetan culture.
  On behalf of the over 50,000 Chinese Americans who reside in my 
congressional district, I express my condolences for all the people of 
the Qinghai province, Tibetan Americans, Chinese Americans, and all 
those who have lost loved ones or are otherwise affected by this 
tragedy, including rescue and humanitarian workers. I also want to 
commend Ambassador Huntsmann, who presented a check for $100,000 to the 
Chinese Red Cross Society for their efforts to rebuild after the 
Qinghai earthquake. Ambassador Huntsmann's remarks demonstrated that we 
stand with the Chinese people to rebuild Qinghai and further develop 
stronger ties between our two nations.
  Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. POE of Texas. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
  I rise in support of this resolution addressing the tragic earthquake 
which took over 2,000 lives and left over 10,000 injured when it struck 
on April 14, 2010. I would, however, like to mention an omission in the 
official American response to this tragedy--one that is only partially 
rectified in the wording of this resolution. The epicenter of the 
earthquake struck on the Tibetan plateau and the vast majority of 
victims were from Tibet. Yet the message of condolence issued in the 
name of the Secretary of State on April 15, while ``offering thoughts 
and prayers for the people of China on this difficult day,'' made no 
mention of the thousands of Tibetans who lost their lives, their homes, 
and their places of worship. Madam Speaker, political correctness has 
no place when addressing human tragedy, no matter where it occurs in 
the world.
  While we mourn the death of both Tibetans and the Chinese migrant 
workers who were in the area, we should not ignore the fact that this 
was one more blow to the Tibetan heartland. The damage to Tibetan 
monasteries caused by this earthquake is only the latest event in the 
sad chapter of the devastation of this culture over the past half 
  The war waged against Tibetan culture began with the Chinese People's 
Liberation Army invasion of the Tibetan plateau in 1959. It continued 
in the frenzy of fanatic young Red Guards smashing statues of Buddha 
and assaulting monks and nuns during the infamous ``Cultural 
Revolution.'' It continued right up until 2 years ago, when Beijing 
cracked down once again on dissent by rounding up Tibetan political 
prisoners and in closing the monasteries. It has been the United 
States' stated policy since the passage almost a decade ago of our late 
colleague, Tom Lantos' Tibetan Policy Act, to work to protect the 
Tibetan culture, language, and their religion. Yet the administration 
was noticeably silent regarding this latest blow to Tibetan culture and 
regarding the massive loss of their lives. The Dalai Lama, recipient of 
the Congressional Gold Medal, addressed this tragic earthquake with 
these words of appeals. He said, ``To fulfill the wishes of many of the 
people there, I am eager to go there myself to offer them comfort.''
  I submit for the Record the brief remarks the Dalai Lama made on 
April 14 and April 17, 2010.

                  [From dalailama.com, Apr. 14, 2010]

His Holiness Offers His Condolences to the Victims of the Earthquake in 

       I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and property as a 
     result of the earthquake that struck Kyigudo (Chinese--Yushu) 
     this morning.
       We pray for those who have lost their lives in this tragedy 
     and their families and others who have been affected. A 
     special prayer service is being held at the main temple 
     (Tsuglagkhang) here at Dharamsala on their behalf.
       It is my hope that all possible assistance and relief work 
     will reach these people. I am also exploring how I, too, can 
     contribute to these efforts.

                  [From dalailama.com, Apr. 17, 2010]

  His Holiness the Dalai Lama Eager To Visit Earthquake Affected Area

       As I mentioned briefly soon after I heard the news, I was 
     deeply saddened by the effects of the devastating earthquake 
     in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Tibetan: Kyigudo) 
     of Qinghai Province which resulted in the tragic loss of many 
     lives, a great number of injured and severe loss of property. 
     Because of the physical distance between us, at present I am 
     unable to comfort those directly affected, but I would like 
     them to know I am praying for them.
       I commend the monastic community, young people and many 
     other individuals from nearby areas for their good 
     neighbourly support and assistance to the families of those 
     who have lost everything. May your exemplary compassion 
     continue to grow. This kind of voluntary work in the service 
     of others really puts the bodhisattva aspiration into 
       I also applaud the Chinese authorities for visiting the 
     affected areas, especially Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who has 
     not only personally offered comfort to the affected 
     communities, but has also overseen the relief work. I am very 
     appreciative too that the media have been free to report on 
     the tragedy and its aftermath.
       In 2008, when a similar earthquake struck Sichuan, Chinese 
     central and local government leaders and auxiliary 
     authorities took great pains to provide relief, allow free 
     access to the media, as well as clearing the way for 
     international relief agencies to provide assistance as 
     required. I applauded these positive moves then and appeal 
     for such ease of access on this occasion too.
       The Tibetan community in exile would like to offer whatever 
     support and assistance it can towards the relief work. We 
     hope to be able to do this through the proper and appropriate 
     channels as soon as possible.
       When Sichuan was rocked by an earthquake two years ago, I 
     wished to visit the affected areas to pray and comfort the 
     people there, but I was unable to do so. However, when Taiwan 
     was struck by a typhoon last year, I was able to visit the 
     affected families

[[Page H3615]]

     and pray with them for those who had perished in that 
     disaster. In providing some solace to the people concerned, I 
     was happy to be able to do something useful.
       This time the location of the earthquake, Kyigudo (Chinese: 
     Yushu), lies in Qinghai Province, which happens to be where 
     both the late Panchen Lama and I were born. To fulfill the 
     wishes of many of the people there, I am eager to go there 
     myself to offer them comfort.
       In conclusion, I appeal to governments, international aid 
     organisations and other agencies to extend whatever 
     assistance they can to enable the families of those 
     devastated by this tragedy to rebuild their lives. At the 
     same time, I also call on the survivors of this catastrophe 
     to recognise what has happened as the workings of karma and 
     to transform this adversity into something positive, keeping 
     their hopes up and meeting setbacks with courage as they 
     struggle to restore what they have lost. Once again, I pray 
     for those who have lost their lives as well as for the well 
     being of those who have survived.

  I call upon the administration to hear the cries of the Tibetan 
victims of this tragic national disaster and to advocate for a visit by 
their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. I urge Beijing leadership to 
show some mercy and allow a visit to the earthquake area by the Dalai 
Lama as well--a location very near the site where he was actually born. 
Only when their spiritual leader is allowed to come and offer solace to 
their grief and suffering can the Tibetan victims of this national 
tragic disaster truly begin to heal.
  Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. McMAHON. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
  Just to continue on a point that I failed to mention, the issue of 
the Tibetan people is, of course, very near and dear to me as well. I 
have in my district the only Tibetan cultural museum in North America. 
And it's a site that we have worked with and honored for years--the 
importance of the Tibetan people, their culture, and what it means to 
the whole world, and that they are allowed to continue to survive and 
flourish in this world. And so on many points I agree with the 
gentleman from Texas.
  I have no further requests for time, and yield back the balance of my 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. McMahon) that the House suspend the rules 
and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 1324.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. McMAHON. Madam Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a 
quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX and the 
Chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be 
  The point of no quorum is considered withdrawn.


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