Tibet Day in Sacramento poster


ACR 6 is a resolution initiated by California Assembly member Sam Blakeslee (R-33rd Assembly District) last December to call on the people of this great State of California to recognize the 50 years of human rights violations of Tibetans inside Tibet under the repressive rule of the People’s Republic of China. It calls for March 10th to be the “Dalai Lama and Tibet Awareness Day” in California. On March 2, 2009, the Resolution was on the Consent Calendar with unanimous vote and on its way to being voted on in the Assembly. 

Yesterday, March 16, over 80 Tibetans and Tibet Supporters anxiously witnessed the debate on the Assembly Chambers initiated by Assembly member Fiona Ma (D-12th Assembly District that includes San Francisco) who motioned to have the measure re-referred to the Rules Committee where Republican supporters and Assembly member Blakeslee feared it will die. Ms. Ma’s reasons ranged from questioning the "merits" of ACR 6, to letting Congress handle Tibet-related resolutions to "offending" the PRC in these times of "fiscal uncertainties”. Democratic Majority Floor Leader, Assembly member Alberto Torrico (D- 20th Assembly District) seconded the motion. A total of 47 Assembly members – ALL Democrats - voted to re-refer ACR 6 to the Rules Committee. 

On March 11, 2009 the US House of Representatives passed Resolution (H. Res 226) urging China to respond to the Dalai Lama’s initiative toward a lasting solution to the Tibet-China issue, which was approved by an overwhelming vote of 422 to one.

In his eloquent statement to the California State Assembly members, Mr. Blakeslee, revealed that the Chinese Consulate had extended personal invitations to many Assembly members to wine and dine with the Chinese Consul at his private residence.  He appealed to his fellow Assembly members to uphold the moral integrity of their office and not succumb to the pressures of a foreign government.

Whether the motivations for re-referring the bill to the Rules Committee was to ‘stall’ it till after the G20 meetings in London on April 2, 2009 or to ‘kill it’ under the Chinese Consulate’s pressure, a largely Democratic vote to move ACR 6 off the floor of the CA Assembly was disgraceful to say the least. For the first time in many years, Tibetans, Tibet Supporters, and peoplewho believe in human rights for all, were ashamed of their life-long affiliation with the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is supposed to be the party that stands for human rights and be the voice for the oppressed. This sets a dangerous precedent with regards to the Chinese government's relentless attempts to pressure foreign governments (down to state and municipal levels) not to bring up the issue of human rights. We realize that there are powerful economic interests in play, but with over 60,000 factories closing in Guangdong Province alone because of worldwide lack of demand do Democratic Assembly members of this great State of California really believe that China is in any position to impose economic hardships on the people of California? Or, are Ms. Fiona Ma and Mr. Alberto Torrico leading the Democrats into the slow demise of not just a bill but more importantly, the moral integrity of the State Assembly of California? What we witnessed yesterday by Ms. Ma, Mr. Torrico and their colleagues, was a disgraceful prostituting of moral principles to a foreign government that has no business 'bribing' elected representatives of the people of California – a technique the Chinese government is accustomed to using in Tibet and China. 

Tibetans and Tibet Supporters are outraged by the sell-out of Democrats who supported Fiona Ma's motion yesterday. The Tibetan Community and Tibet Supporters call on all residents of California to call your district representative, particularly the Democratic Assembly members, to express your utter disappointment with their shameful action yesterday.

This is not the first time a Resolution on Tibet has been introduced in the CA State Assembly. For instance, ACR 6 is Assembly member Blakeslee’s second attempt and in August 2007, Assembly member Gene Mullin (D-Assembly District 19) introduced a HR 20 that was co-authored by 73 members of the legislature – 51 of them are current members of the CA State legislature. The language of HR20 mirrors that of ACR 6.

ACR 6 may have been removed, but it is not dead. Good citizens of California, it is now a matter of not just of ACR 6 but the very moral integrity of this State’s Assembly at stake here. It is our responsibility to hold those Assembly members accountable for selling out to Chinese Consulate pressure. We must not allow Chinese government’s repressive policies in Tibet and we most certainly, must not allow the Chinese Consulate to undermine the democratic principles of our own elected State Assembly members in this great State of California!

If there is anyone who can prevent the Chinese Consulate from turning the good Assembly Hall of California into a Hall of Shame – it is WE - the people of California! So, please pick up your phones and pens and let’s express our disgust at Assembly members Fiona Ma, Alberto Torrico and others who supported them.

************************ ACTION ITEM *********************************

ACTION: Please send letters/faxes to the members of Rules Committee with cc to Mr. Blakeslee and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass. Please fax or send a copy to:

Karen Bass
Room 219
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
FAX: 916-319-2147

Sam Blakeslee
Room 4117
State Capitol
FAX: 916-319-2133

Sample letter or you can download a sample letter in Word format.

The Rules Committee can keep a bill in their possession which will “kill” the bill. We need to ensure that the bill stays alive. Speaker Karen Bass did assure the members of the Assembly that ACR 6 would receive a hearing where Democrats could get involved in the process. The Republicans of the Assembly will stay united on this issue.

The details about yesterday’s vote and the legislation can be found here:

Members of the Rules Committee are: http://www.asm.ca.gov/acs/newcomframeset.asp?committee=22

Ted W. Lieu (his fax # is: 916.319.2153) – Chair- - voted AYE  on motion to re-refer back to the rules committee

Sam Blakeslee- voted NO

Anthony Adams - voted NO

Tom Ammiano- voted AYE

Ted Gaines- voted NO

Isadore Hall III - voted AYE

Tony Mendoza- voted AYE

Jim Silva  - voted NO

Sandre R. Swanson- voted AYE

Tom Torlakson- voted AYE

Mariko Yamada  - voted NO

Thank you for your continuous support. Thank you to the individuals that came to the Capitol on Monday. Mr. Blakeslee was so excited to see you there, it meant a lot to him. Your spirit is keeping all of us going!!!! We are not giving up!

Dechen Tsering President
Tibetan Association of Northern California
2288 Fulton Street, Suite 312
Berkeley, CA 94704
Email: dtsering2005@yahoo.com

"It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it."

Eleanor Roosevelt 


March 17, 2009

The Honorable Ted Lieu
Chairman, Assembly Rules Committee
State Capitol, Room 3016
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear the Honorable Ted Lieu;

I am writing to urge you to set a public hearing for Assembly Concurrent Resolution 6. ACR 6, authored by Assemblyman Blakeslee calls for the recognition of March 10 as “The Dalai Lama and Tibet Awareness Day”. This measure was re-referred to the Rules Committee for what was described as “proper input”. As a Tibetan supporter, I hope your committee gives this resolution fair treatment and a proper hearing. 

On Monday, March 16th, more than 80 Tibetans and supporters witnessed Democrats cave to the pressure from the Chinese Consulate preventing the measure from being voted on. Our hope is that ACR 6 will be given a proper hearing to debate the merits of the resolution.

March 10, 2009 marked the 50th anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s flight from Tibet and the massive Tibetan upraising in Lhasa against China’s colonization of Tibet. During those days, and in the decades that followed, more than one million Tibetans lost their lives. Since then, China’s repression and denial of the people’s right to self-determination has continued. As you are well aware, last spring, China brutally cracked down on widespread protests throughout Tibet as the people attempted desperately to call world attention to their plight during the Olympic year. More than a hundred Tibetans were killed, over 6000 were arbitrarily detained and many were imprisoned and tortured. China then intimidated the entire population through a military lock down of the Tibetan plateau, which continues to date.
ACR 6 is a significant addition to the kind of political support Tibet and Tibetans need today. We urge you to stop allowing China to intimidate the elected leaders of the world’s most respected democracies from upholding the fundamental values of human rights of Tibetans. 

We appeal to our leaders in Sacramento to honor the lifelong efforts of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibetans by passing ACR 6 and, in doing so, declaring March 10th as  ‘Dalai Lama and Tibet Awareness Day’ in California.




CC: Assembly Speaker, Karen Bass
Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee