Over 100 Tibetan Americans and Tibet supporters will visit Washington, DC this week to meet with members of Congress and lobby for a bill that aims to peacefully resolve China’s illegal occupation of Tibet.

Tibet Lobby Day will bring people from 23 states and the District of Columbia to the US Capitol on Sept. 22 and 23 for meetings with US Senators, Representatives and Congressional staff.

The event will focus on attracting new Congressional cosponsors and support for the Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Conflict Act, a bipartisan bill that Reps. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and Michael McCaul, R-Texas, introduced in the House this summer.

In a video to Lobby Day participants, McGovern said: “This important advocacy event, now in its 14th year, is an opportunity for you to tell your elected representatives in Congress that you want them to stand up for Tibet. We have seen real, concrete results from the power of citizen advocates to help the Tibetan people.”

WATCH Rep. Jim McGovern’s message to Tibet Lobby Day participants.

Tibet Lobby Day is a collaboration between the International Campaign for Tibet and other Tibet groups, including Students for a Free Tibet and Tibetan associations around the country.

This year marks the first time the annual event will take place in person since 2019.

“After holding Tibet Lobby Day virtually the past two years due to COVID-19, it will be wonderful to see so many of our fellow Tibetan Americans and Tibet supporters in person in Washington, DC once again,” said Tencho Gyatso, ICT’s Interim Vice President. “At the same time, all of us know we have important work to do to extend the US government’s decades of bipartisan support for Tibet, and we look forward to many impactful meetings with our elected leaders.”

Resolve Tibet Act

This year, the Lobby Day participants’ main request will be for their members of Congress to support the Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Conflict Act, which McGovern and McCaul introduced in July.

Known as the Resolve Tibet Act, the bill will:

  • Pressure China to resume negotiations with the Dalai Lama’s envoys, which have not resumed since 2010
  • State that the China-Tibet conflict remains unresolved in violation of international law
  • Recognize the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination and fault the Chinese government for violating that right
  • Reject as “historically false” China’s claim that Tibet has been part of China since ancient times
  • Empower the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues to counter Communist Party propaganda about Tibet and Tibetans, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama
  • Make clear that Tibet includes not only the so-called “Tibet Autonomous Region” of China but also Tibetan areas of Gansu, Sichuan, Qinghai and Yunnan provinces

“This legislation will position the United States to more forcefully encourage China to address the unresolved issue of Tibet, which is only possible through genuine negotiations with the Dalai Lama and the elected Tibetan leaders in exile,” said Franz Matzner, ICT’s Director of Government Relations.

“Since its introduction just two months ago, the Resolve Tibet Act has already received impressive support from Congressional leaders. This Tibet Lobby Day will be vital for putting the bill on President Biden’s desk. With Tibetans facing unprecedented oppression, it is critical that the United States consistently demand that the CCP return to the negotiating table without poison-pill conditions.”

Celebrating 20 years since the passage of the landmark Tibetan Policy Act of 2002

The Resolve Tibet Act builds on recent momentum in US legislation on Tibet, including the passage of the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 and the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018.

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of one of the most important Tibet laws in US history, the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002.

The TPA, which became law on Sept. 30, 2002, codified US political and programmatic support for Tibet, paving the way for two decades of concrete initiatives to help the Tibetan people.

The TPA made promoting dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama’s envoys the US’ central objective on Tibet, and it formally established the position of Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues in the State Department.

During Tibet Lobby Day, ICT will host a celebration of the TPA’s 20th anniversary, with special guest John Ackerly, ICT President in 2002. The event will look back at how the TPA changed US policy on Tibet forever—and look ahead to how the Resolve Tibet Act will carry that policy forward.

Earlier in the day, some of the Lobby Day participants are also scheduled to greet Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., one of the original sponsors of the TPA.

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