PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2012
Contact: Tara Setmayer
Rohrabacher Warns: Tibetan Political Interference in Radio Free Asia Not Acceptable, Erodes Congressional Support
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46) sent a letter to Lobsang Sangay, the Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-In-Exile to express outrage that he and other Tibetan leaders are attempting to manipulate the news that is being reported by the Tibetan service of Radio Free Asia. Representative Rohrabacher wrote to Sangay, “actions taken by you and other Tibetan leaders … are eroding support within the US Congress for the Tibetan cause. You and your cohorts must immediately cease making disparaging remarks and taking harmful actions aimed at the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia and its loyal, hard working Tibetan-American staff.”
It appears that pressure from the Tibetan Government-In-Exile is responsible for the recent firing of the long time Director of the Tibetan Service within Radio Free Asia, Jigme Ngapo. Ngapo is well respected within the Tibetan community and known for encouraging open discussion about Tibet’s future, including independence, a position not advocated by Sangay and some other individuals in the Tibetan Government-In-Exile.
Congressman Rohrabacher emphasized to Sangay that “I will not tolerate any machinations by you or your associates to deprive the Tibetan people of the joys of open debate and the free exchange of information that Radio Free Asia has provided.” The letter continues that “the 75 Tibetans who have self- immolated did not do so for the right to become a minority group within Communist China; the policy you are advocating. They are killing themselves for their right to freedom and self-determination and the end of the illegal Chinese occupation.”
Representative Rohrabacher added that he is “also aware of serious accusations that US funding meant for Tibetans may have been misspent… If US assistance has been misspent and perhaps even goes into the pockets of the Communist Chinese and Tibetan power brokers I will learn of it and action will be taken.” In 2012 the US Government granted $7.5 million dollars in support of the Tibetans.
Rep. Rohrabacher is Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.