Tibet: US House Passes Human Rights Bill
US lawmakers in the House approved a bill on Tuesday [28 January 2020] to update the 2002 Tibetan Policy Act, the latest in a series of congressional moves to strengthen America's stance towards China. In light of the CCP’s growing crackdown on freedom of religion, the bill states that if Chinese officials interfere in the process of recognising a successor or reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, they will be subject to sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act.
Below is an article by CNN (first published 28/01/2020)
The Tibet Policy and Support Act, introduced by Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, alongside a number of bipartisan cosponsors, passed with an overwhelming vote of 392-22. The Senate version of the legislation is ongoing, having not received a vote in that chamber yet.
The legislation would set as US policy that the succession of Tibetan Buddhist leaders, including a future 15th Dalai Lama, be left solely to the Tibetan Buddhist community, without interference from the Chinese government.
The bill states that if Chinese officials interfere in the process of recognising a successor or reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, they will be subject to sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act. It also calls for the establishment of a US consulate in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Tibet is an internationally recognised autonomous region within the People's Republic of China, though many Tibetans dispute the legitimacy of China's rule.
"It should be clear that we support a positive and productive US-China relationship," McGovern said ahead of the vote. "But it is essential that human rights of all the people in China are respected by their government."
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the authorised spending entailed within the legislation includes funding for a variety of programmes, including efforts to preserve Tibetan language and culture, strengthen Tibetan governance and institutions, and promote sustainable development, education, and conservation, as well as scholarships for Tibetan students.
In November, the House also passed legislation supporting protesters in Hong Kong, as well as legislation banning the the exports to Hong Kong of crowd-control products due to reports of police brutality and crackdowns on protesters.
Moreover, in December, the House passed the UIGHUR Act, a bill to condemn the Chinese government for its mass internment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province, China, which would enable Magnitsky sanctions on Chinese officials deemed responsible for the concentration camps and would require the State Department to assemble a report on human rights abuses in the region.