Steady support for Tibet in the halls of Congress has resulted in the provision of approximately $19 million for vital Tibet programs through the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R.1865).
The bill was passed by the House on Oct. 28 and by the Senate on Nov. 12, 2019. After resolving the differences in the two versions, it was presented to President Trump, who signed it on Dec. 20, 2019.
“The United States Congress has once again provided strong support to the people of Tibet,” said Matteo Mecacci, president of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT). “While these programs are a minuscule part of America’s overall foreign aid budget, this investment yields big dividends for Tibetans and their efforts to preserve their culture and identity in the face of China’s oppression.”
The Further Consolidated Appropriations bill, together with the recommendations of the relevant House and Senate Committees and the President’s Budget, provides:
- Grants to nongovernmental organizations to support activities that preserve cultural traditions and promote sustainable development, education and environmental conservation in Tibetan communities in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in other Tibetan communities in China (at the same level as last year, not less than $8 million)
- Funding for programs to promote and preserve Tibetan culture and language in the refugee and diaspora Tibetan communities, development, and the resilience of Tibetan communities and the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in India and Nepal, and to assist in the education and development of the next generation of Tibetan leaders from such communities (at the same level as last year, not less than $6 million)
- Funding for programs to strengthen the capacity of the CTA: Provided, that such funds shall be administered by the United States Agency for International Development (at the same level as last year, not less than $3 million)
- Humanitarian assistance for Tibetan refugees in Nepal and India (“at levels commensurate with prior years”)
- Cultural Tibetan exchanges and fellowships (at prior year level)
- Funding for the office of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues at the State Department (at the same level as last year, $1 million)
- Funding for broadcasting into Tibet by Radio Free Asia and Voice of America (“at not less than current levels”)
- The National Endowment for Democracy provides grants, from funds allocated by the US Congress, to support the democratic aspirations of people all over the world, including the Tibetan people.
Since 1988, Congress has initiated and funded US government programs that benefit Tibetans in exile and inside Tibet through humanitarian assistance, economic development, educational assistance and other efforts. These programs are annually a part of the State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which has been incorporated into the larger omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act.
Since its establishment in 1988, ICT has advocated to Congress to support Tibetans’ efforts to preserve their culture, identity and traditions, which are threatened by the oppressive policies of the Chinese government.