As the United States approaches the November presidential election, the International Campaign for Tibet is launching a campaign to raise awareness of China’s oppression in Tibet among the US public and presidential candidates.
“Tibet 2020” will involve citizens’ outreach to the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates urging them to include the Tibetan issue in their foreign policy agendas and platforms.
The campaign will put the spotlight on the Tibetan Policy Act, which mandates that the administration “support the aspirations of the Tibetan people to safeguard their distinct identity.”
Tibet 2020 will also ask the candidates to commit to the congressionally mandated appointment of a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues at the State Department. According to the TPA, “The central objective of the Special Coordinator is to promote substantive dialogue between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives.”
Parties’ past support for Tibet
In past presidential elections, both political parties have listed Tibet among their areas of interest and concern.
- The 2016 Republican platform said, “cultural genocide continues in Tibet and Xinjiang, the promised autonomy of Hong Kong is eroded, the currency is manipulated, our technology is stolen, and intellectual property and copyrights are mocked in an economy based on piracy.”
- In the 2016 Democratic platform, Tibet was referenced in the following way: “We will promote greater respect for human rights, including the rights of Tibetans.”
- In 2012 the Democratic Platform stated, “We will consistently speak out for the importance of respecting the universal human rights of the Chinese people, including the right of the Tibetan people to preserve their cultural and religious identity.”
- The Republican formulation in 2012 was the following: “The Chinese government has engaged in a number of activities that we condemn: China’s pursuit of advanced military capabilities without any apparent need; suppression of human rights in Tibet, Xinjiang, and other areas.”
Keith Pitts, ICT board member and former senior Congressional foreign policy staff, said:
“My dear old boss, Congressman Charlie Rose (D-NC) and his home state political nemesis, Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), fought like cats and dogs on about every issue under the sun, except Tibet. Both were lockstep allies on doing all they could to support His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government In Exile, knowing their efforts on behalf of Tibetans made the world a better place for all of humanity and also made each of them better people to boot.
At this critical time in American history, the presidential campaigns should take a strong stand in support of the Tibetan people and His Holiness the Dalai Lama to make sure that the respect of human rights and the rule of law are not left behind in our dealings with China.”
Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said:
“As the United States faces with increasing concern the expansion of influence of the Chinese government’s authoritarian model and policies throughout the world, including in the US, it is crucial that the Tibetan people continue to receive and see an expansion of the bipartisan support that both Congress and past administrations have guaranteed.
“Over the last four years, we have seen unprecedented bipartisan action from Congress and the executive branch to push back against China’s bullying tactics both at home and abroad on a variety of issues, including with the passing of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act in 2018—and its recent implementation by the State Department—and with the introduction of the Tibetan Policy and Support Act, now under consideration in the Senate.
“Although legislation is a key element of policymaking, its effectiveness depends on the implementation and articulation by the executive branch. For this reason, we call on our members and Tibet supporters across the US to participate in this campaign and engage the presidential campaigns of both parties to publicly state their strong support for the aspirations of the Tibetan people.”