Update May 14, 2020: The committee meeting is being rescheduled. Check ICT’s website and social media accounts for updates.
The Tibetan Policy and Support Act is taking a big step toward passing the US Senate and becoming law.
The TPSA is on the agenda for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s meeting on Thursday, May 14 at 9:30 am EDT.
When the committee approves the bill, the TPSA can move on to the floor of the Senate for a vote by the full chamber.
If the Senate passes the bill, the final step will be for the president to sign it into law.
The House of Representatives passed the TPSA with an overwhelmingly majority on Jan. 28. Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., introduced the bill in that chamber with cosponsor Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ.
What the bill does
The TPSA would dramatically upgrade US policy on Tibet, a historically independent country that China has brutally occupied for more than 60 years.
Among other changes, the bill would:
- Make it official US policy that only Tibetan Buddhists can decide on the selection of their religious leaders, including a potential successor to the Dalai Lama, who is now 84.
- Sanction Chinese officials who attempt to name their own Dalai Lama in the future, as the Chinese government has long said it will do. The sanctions could include freezing the officials’ assets and denying them entry to the United States.
- Forbid China from opening a new consulate in the US until it allows a US consulate in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital.
- Address water security and environmental issues in Tibet, which is warming at nearly three times the global average and provides water to more than 1 billion people in Asia.
- Formalize funding for humanitarian projects for Tibetans living in Tibet and in exile until at least 2025.
- Require the State Department to build international support for opposing China’s interference in the selection of Tibetan Buddhist leaders.
- Commend the Dalai Lama and Tibetans in exile for adopting a democratic system of government.
International Campaign for Tibet President Matteo Mecacci:
“The Tibetan Policy and Support Act is urgent legislation for defending Tibetans’ rights, opposing the Chinese government’s hostile and authoritarian agenda, and protecting the legacy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has been one of the world’s most revered spiritual leaders for decades and received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.
“We are thrilled that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will take up the TPSA next week, and we know our members across the United States will continue to advocate tirelessly for this bill to become law this year.”