Gere, a longtime advocate of the Tibetan cause, argued at a news conference that the twin presidency marks 'a historic moment for Germany to step forward.'
'This is a moment of great possibility for ... not just punishing but encouraging China to become part of the modern world,' he said. 'Tibet should be ever-present in any discussion with China.'
China has exercised an often harsh, intrusive rule over Tibet since communist troops marched into the region in 1950.
Some information for this report was provided by AP .