On 27 September 2006 President George W. Bush signed into law a bill honoring His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama with the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill recognizes �his many enduring and outstanding contributions to peace, non-violence, human rights, and religious understanding.�
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest US civilian honor awarded by congress. Since 1776 the Congressional Gold Medal has been awarded to such notables as Rosa Parks (1999), Pope John Paul II (2000), the Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King (2004) and Nelson Mandela (1998.)
Many of you already know that China invaded Tibet in 1949. In 1959, after a failed uprising, His Holiness was forced to seek refuge in India. Thousands followed him to escape religious persecution and in some cases, torture. His Holiness has worked to reach a peaceful resolution with China without making much progress. Needless to say the Peoples Republic of China objects congress honoring His Holiness this way, just as they did when He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. The Spokesman for Chinese Foreign Ministry, Qin Gang was asked what China's comment was on Congress�s decision to award the Congressional Gold Medal to His Holiness, he said:
I believe that helps to show just how patient His Holiness is while working towards peace. It truly takes a great man to work towards peace for over 50 years against such resistance.
You can read a copy of the bill (now law) here.
For more information on the Congressional Gold Medal Recipients please visit http://clerk.house.gov/histHigh/Congressional_History/goldMedal.html.