Tibetan Americans and Tibet supporters will meet with members of Congress and/or their staff this week to push for action on China’s misguided policies in Tibet during the annual Tibet Lobby Day.
Tibet, a country with a two thousand year history that China has brutally occupied for more than 60 years since forcing the Dalai Lama into exile, is now tied with Syria as the least-free country on Earth, according to the watchdog group Freedom House.
To urge Congress and the Biden administration to increase US support for the Tibetan people, including in their quest for a resolution of the Sino-Tibetan conflict, participants from more than 20 states will join Tibet Lobby Day on Sept. 28-29. The event will allow them to meet virtually with the offices of their US senators and representatives.
“Tibet Lobby Day will show members of Congress that support for Tibet not only serves America’s interests and value but also matters deeply to their constituents,” said Tencho Gyatso of the International Campaign for Tibet, an advocacy group with offices in Washington, DC and Europe, which is coordinating the event.
“We look forward to this opportunity to build on the incredible momentum in bipartisan Congressional action on Tibet and to make sure that Congress and the White House keep Tibet a priority in their relations with China and the Indo-Pacific region.”
Requests for Congress and Biden administration
During the lobby day, participants will ask their members of Congress to take several actions in support of Tibet, including:
- Sign a bipartisan letter to the Biden administration laying out priorities for the next special coordinator for Tibetan issues in the State Department.
- Urge the administration to fully implement key Tibet laws, including the Tibetan Policy and Support Act and the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act.
- Strengthen support for Tibet in the “China bills”—the comprehensive legislation on China that the House of Representatives and Senate are currently working on.
- Support a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming 2022 Beijing Olympics and hold China accountable for its human rights abuses.
- Call for environmental justice in Tibet, which is warming nearly three times faster than the global average and provides water to nearly 2 billion people in Asia.
Momentum in Tibet support
Tibet Lobby Day comes at a moment when US support for Tibet has historic momentum.
In 2018, Congress unanimously passed the bipartisan Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which led to the US banning Chinese officials from entering the country over their unfair policy of keeping American journalists, diplomats and ordinary citizens out of Tibet.
Last year, Congress passed the bipartisan Tibetan Policy and Support Act, which dramatically upgrades US support for Tibetans, including by making it official US policy that only the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Buddhist community can decide on his succession. If any Chinese officials try to interfere in that process, they will face US sanctions.
During his presidential campaign last year, then-candidate Joe Biden issued a statement promising that his administration would “stand up for the people of Tibet.”
Over the years the Tibet Lobby Day has been looked upon by the Tibetan American community and their Tibetan associations as an opportunity to send strong messages to their representatives and the political leadership in Washington, D.C. This year, they will work to make sure that the Biden administration lives up to that commitment and that Congress keeps up its support for the Tibetan people.