Two U.S. lawmakers have formed a caucus to help mobilize support for Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and to bring attention to China's rule over the Tibetan people.

Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California and Democrat Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii plan to co-chair the caucus. 

In a statement Tuesday, Rohrabacher said he and Abercrombie urge other members of Congress to join the caucus to uphold the rights of Tibet's people and give a voice to those silenced by China's government.

Rohrabacher also said the U.S. cannot hide behind the spirit of the Olympics this August in Beijing as an excuse to ignore what the congressman called China's "horrifying" human rights record. 

China has controlled Tibet since 1951 and accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking independence for the region.  The spiritual leader insists he only wants autonomy for Tibetans under Chinese sovereignty.