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)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
EXPRESSING CONDOLENCES TO CHINA FOR TRAGIC EARTHQUAKE IN QINGHAI
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
(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.
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
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)
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
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.