Fifth Interethnic / Interfaith Conference

Concludes with a Call for

Nonviolence, Internet Freedom,

and Return to the Rule of Law in China 

Religious and ethnic leaders from the PRC, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao,
pledge cooperation and mutual respect.

(Please click here for more conference related information)

Conference Highlights

  • Keynote address by Barbara Haig, VP Programs, Planning & Evaluation, NED
  • Private audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Mainland Han Chinese Delegates
  • Presentation of  Charter 08 by original signatories to the Honorable Thaddeus McCotter, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee
  • Seminars on nonviolence and Internet freedom
  • Heritage Foundation forum on religious and ethnic tensions in the PRC
  • Statement of commitment to nonviolence and cooperation

Dalai Lama Holds Private Audience with Han Chinese Delegates from the Mainland.


His Holiness The Dalai Lama held a private audience with Han Chinese Intellectuals from the Mainland during his visit to Washington, DC.  The Dalai Lama praised their brave work on behalf of the Tibetan people and stressed the importance of strengthening ties between Tibetan and Han Chinese peoples.
Pictured above with The Dalai Lama(center) is Yang Kuanxing (left) and Conference Leader, Dr. Yang Jianli, President, Initiatives for China (left)

“There are people inside China watching you. You can be a living example of how diverse peoples can come together to define and pursue common interests..“ Barbara Haig, VP Programs, Planning and Evaluation, National Endowment for Democracy

Washington, DC. October 16, 2009. Delegates from major regional, ethnic, and religious groups  of Chinese society concluded a three day conference in Washington DC  on October 10, with a  commitment to nonviolence, and cooperation on key issues, including Internet freedom, the right of return for exiled democracy advocates, and ending divisive, inflammatory,  and demonizing language in describing religious and ethnic groups and/or their leaders. Organized by Initiatives for China under a grant from pastedGraphic_1.pdfthe National Endowment for Democracy, the Fifth Interethnic/Interfaith Leadership Conference opened with a keynote address by Barbara Haig (pictured above), Vice President of Programs, Planning, and Evaluation for the National Endowment for Democracy. She  told the delegates “There are people inside China watching you…..You can be a living example of how diverse peoples can come together to define and pursue common interests, and provide solidarity to each other.”

Under the theme of Understanding, Respect. Cooperation, the Conference encompassed a diverse agenda, including a forum at the Heritage Foundation (pictured below) on reducing ethnic and religious tensions in the PRC,  a private audience between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Han Chinese intellectuals from the Mainland, as well as a series of seminars on nonviolence and Internet freedom (pictured above).The Conference concluded with a four point statement calling for nonviolent resolution of ethnic and religious tensions in the PRC and for restoration of the rule of law in China. (Click here for complete Statement)


Conference participants included Mr. Tsegyam, Secretary, Office of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Ms. Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uyghur Congress, Mr. Togochog Enghebatu, Director of the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, Mr Shobt, President of the Inner Mongolian Peoples Party, Mr. Leung Kwokhung, member of the Hong Kong Parliament, Mr. Ilshat Hassan, VP of Communications, Uyghur American Association, and Mr. Omer Kanat, Vice President, World Uyghur Congress,  Mr. Bob Fu of China Aid,  and 11 Han Chinese intellectuals from Mainland China who are among the original signatories to Charter 08, the document calling for major reform in the Chinese government.– –The Interethnic/Interfaith Leadership Conference enjoys a long tradition of building understanding and cooperation among regional, religious, and ethnic groups of contemporary China.
The inspiration of Harvard Fellow, Dr. Yang Jianli, who, with the support and encouragement of His Holiness the Dali Lama, Bhuchung Tsering of the International Campaign for Tibet, and Omer Kanat, of the World Uyghur Congress, and Mongolian Leader, Bache organized the first Interethnic Conference in 2000. The Fourth Conference was held in November, 2008 at Harvard University. It culminated in an unprecedented Declaration of Unity whereby the delegates pledged cooperation and respect in pursuit of their common goal of a just government founded upon the rule of law.

“This Fifth Conference clearly demonstrates the need and the desire of all peoples to live in a peaceful and just society governed by mutual respect for our differences and the rule of law that protects the legitimate rights of individuals and groups to live, worship, and speak according to their conscience.” said conference organizer, Dr. Yang Jianli, “We must move beyond counterproductive rhetoric toward real dialogue based on understanding, respect, and cooperation”

Contact Information

Jim Geheran, Director

Initiatives for China

202.290.1423 (O) | 508.494.5682 (C)