There’s big news today about the Tibetan Policy and Support Act: The bill could get a vote in the House of Representatives next week, and in the Senate subsequently, said the Congressman who introduced it.

“My hope is that it will be considered next week,” Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) said at a press conference on Capitol Hill this morning. “Marco Rubio has the identical bill in the Senate, and I expect it will pass in the Senate as well.”

McGovern—who introduced the Tibetan Policy and Support Act (TPSA) in the House in September—was speaking at the release of the 2019 annual report of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, of which he is the chair. Sen. Rubio (R-Fla.), who introduced the TPSA in the Senate, is the co-chair.

James McGovern

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) share the Congressional-Executive Commission on China’s 2019 Annual Report at a press conference on Jan. 8, 2019.

Consequences for China

The TPSA would provide a major boost to US support for Tibet.

One of the key parts of the bill is the official policy it would establish that only the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Buddhist community can decide on his eventual succession or reincarnation.

If any Chinese officials attempt to appoint their own Dalai Lama in the future—as the Chinese government has repeatedly said it will do—they will face sanctions under the TPSA.

At today’s press conference, McGovern called China’s plans “ridiculous.”

“The notion that a government can come in and appoint a religious leader and that it would have any credibility at all is ridiculous,” he said. “It is ridiculous. We find all of this very offensive as people who believe in religious freedom.”

“But here’s the deal,” McGovern added. “What’s changing now is that China needs to know there’ll be a consequence. It will be more than just a press release saying that we object to this. It will be a consequence, and it will be people who will be sanctioned, and that there will be other consequences as well.”

Tibetan Policy and Support Act (TPSA)

McGovern noted that the TPSA does many other things for the people of Tibet, a historically independent country that China has brutally occupied for more than 60 years .

The TPSA will:

  • Forbid China from opening a new consulate in the US until a US consulate is allowed in Tibet’s capital of Lhasa
  • Address water security and climate change in Tibet
  • Update the landmark Tibetan Policy Act of 2002
  • Authorize ongoing funding for humanitarian projects for Tibetans in Tibet and in exile
  • Praise Tibetans’ transition to democracy in exile, which the Dalai Lama helped lead

The House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously approved the TPSA last month.

If the entire House votes to approve the bill, it will then have to pass the Senate and be signed into law by the president.

Tell your members of Congress to pass the Tibetan Policy and Support Act.