Tibet supporters and Tibetan Americans around the country are taking action this week on a special lobbying effort for a special piece of legislation.

Tibetan Americans and others from the Washington, DC area are visiting the offices of US senators and representatives on Capitol Hill today and tomorrow, Oct. 21 and 22, 2019, for a mini-Tibet Lobby Day to advocate for the Tibetan Policy and Support Act, a new bill introduced in both houses of Congress last month.

Tibetan Americans across the US are also taking part in the event by writing letters to their members of Congress. As of the morning of Oct. 18, nearly 12,000 letters had been sent to Congress members asking them to cosponsor the bill, which will dramatically upgrade US support for Tibet.

Major upgrade

The bipartisan Tibetan Policy and Support Act was introduced in the Senate on Sept. 24 by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and in the House of Representatives on Sept. 13 by Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.). McGovern and Rubio are chair and co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

The bill updates the landmark Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 and includes a number of new provisions to help the people of Tibet, who have lived under a brutal Chinese occupation for the past 60 years.

Among other things, the bill would make it official US policy that the selection of Tibetan Buddhist leaders is a purely religious issue and that any Chinese official who attempts to interfere in the succession or reincarnation of the current Dalai Lama, now 84, would be subject to sanctions.

The bill would also address water security and environmental issues in Tibet and would not permit China to open a new consulate in the US until a US consulate is allowed in Tibet’s capital of Lhasa.

Continuing advocacy

This week’s lobby day builds on months of advocacy in support of the bill by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and Tibetan Americans.

Below watch ICT Director of Outreach Tencho Gyatso describe the special lobby day.