The International Campaign for Tibet is pleased to announce that just a week after Tibet Lobby Day, Congress is moving ahead on legislation on Tibet.

On Tuesday afternoon (March 27), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved S. Res. 356 (read the resolution), which calls on the Chinese government to end repressive policies targeting Tibetans, address the legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people, and allow unrestricted access to foreign journalists and diplomats to Tibet. The bipartisan resolution was introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), along with Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT).

Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry, speaking in favor of the resolution, spoke on the self-immolations in Tibet and serious troubles in the region. Referring to a newspaper picture of the Tibetan who lit himself on fire in Delhi yesterday, he said that the tragic acts spoke volumes about Chinese policies in Tibet. Chairman Kerry said that the Dalai Lama had repeatedly emphasized he is not looking for independence, but rather is trying to protect Tibetan culture. He said China’s response is worse and worse, and urged China to listen to the Tibetan people and to have dialogue with Tibetans.

The resolution now heads to the Senate floor where we hope it soon will be considered for a vote.

This Congressional action follows the success of Tibet Lobby Day (March 19-20), in which some 140 Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters visited more than 120 Capitol Hill offices to lobby for concrete measures to address the situation in Tibet and help Tibetans in Tibet and in exile preserve their culture and identity. Combined with ICT’s “virtual lobbying” campaign, more than 500 (of 541) Members of Congress received messages in support of a legislative agenda for Tibet. For a review of Tibet Lobby Day, please read Reflections on Tibet Lobby Day 2012 on the ICT blog.