The US House of Representative on Tuesday passed a bill to sanction Chinese interference in the selection of His Holiness the Dalai Lama successor. In a historic victory to Tibet, The Tibetan Policy and Support Bill was passed in the house with an overwhelming mandate. The bill represents a major update to the landmark Tibet Policy Act 2002.
The House of Representatives voted although unanimously, in favor to approve the bill with 392 to 22. It is a comprehensive piece of legislation that will dramatically upgrade US political and humanitarian support for Tibetans, including the sanctioning of Chinese officials for interfering in the Dalai Lama’s succession, according to ICT report.
The TPSA represents a major update to US policy on Tibet. Building on the landmark Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, in a nutshell, it will:
- Make it official US policy that the selection of Tibetan Buddhist leaders, including a future Dalai Lama, should follow the desires of the Tibetan Buddhist community and the instructions of the current Dalai Lama without interference from the Chinese government
- Sanction Chinese officials who attempt to appoint their own Dalai Lama in the future. These sanctions could include having their assets frozen and entry to the US denied. The State Department will also have to work at the international level to build support for Tibetan Buddhists’ freedom to choose their own leaders without government interference
- Forbid China from opening a new consulate in the US until a US consulate is allowed in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital
- Address water security and environmental issues in Tibet, which is warming at nearly three times the global average and provides water to more than 1 billion people in Asia.
- Formalize funding for humanitarian projects for Tibetans living in Tibet and in exile until at least 2025.
- Commend the Dalai Lama and Tibetans in exile for adopting a democratic system of government.
Co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. James McGovern and Republican Senator Marco Rubio, the bill aims to renew and strengthen the US support for Tibet and the Tibetan people. Representative to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in North America, Mr. Ngodup Tsering called the passing of bill a historic victory for Tibet, for justice and truth.
Now it remains to be seen whether the Senate approves the bill after the Committee on Foreign Relations gives its approval. After the House and the Senate versions are reconciled, if the need arises, it will be sent to President Trump to be signed and become law, the ICT report explains.