Support of Refugees in High Gere
Richard Gere was on Capitol Hill Thursday to testify before a House committee in support of a favorite cause of his, religious freedom in Tibet, reports PEOPLE. The "Dr. T & the Women" star, 52, who is head of the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet, urged members of Congress to strengthen U.S. support of the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan refugees. "I've known the Tibetans and His Holiness the Dalai Lama for 20 years. So it's been 20 years of them becoming my close, dear friends as teachers (and) fellow students," Gere, a devout Buddhist and student of the Dalai Lama (he also has traveled to refugee settlements filled with Tibetan monks and nuns), told PEOPLE. When he entered the committee room, he bowed before a group of Tibetan monks seated in the audience. Gere told the committee that refugees make treacherous journeys to escape religious persecution in Tibet. "One cannot fail in having their heart permanently broken to see what these people have suffered to get out of Tibet," he said. Gere's outspoken stance against China's domination of Tibet has ruffled the feathers of the Chinese government, which refuses to issue Gere a visa to enter either country. "I am not allowed into China or Tibet," Gere told the committee. "I'm on the bad-boy list of people who speak the truth."
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