The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed the Tibetan Policy Act of 2001 as part of the 2002 Foreign Relations Authorization Act.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed the Tibetan Policy Act of 2001 as part of the 2002 Foreign Relations Authorization Act. The Tibetan Policy Act has more than 100 co-sponsors in the House and Senate.
“While Beijing continues to trumpet the ‘peaceful liberation’ of Tibet this legislation makes a real statement of support for the Tibetan people by the U.S. Congress,” said Mary Beth Markey, Director of Governmental relations for the International Campaign for Tibet.
“It also conveys the message that the survival of the Tibetan identity is an issue of legitimate U.S. and international concern that will not diminish until a negotiated solution is achieved,” said Markey.
The Tibetan Policy Act is designed to help the Tibetan people preserve their distinct national identity as a people and to support efforts by the Dalai Lama to achieve a negotiated political solution for Tibet.
It addresses elements of the Tibetan issue including religious persecution, political prisoners, funding of scholarships and humanitarian assistance for Tibetan refugees.
It also addresses Chinese development policies in Tibet by directing federal agencies and U.S. executive directors of international financial institutions such as the World Bank to support projects that comply with principles of responsible development in Tibet and oppose those that do not.
“The U.S. Congress is obviously concerned about China’s efforts to erode the Tibetan identity through its development policies there,” said Markey. The 4th government-sponsored Forum on Tibet, held recently in Beijing, emphasized the government’s plan to maintain stability in the region by tightly integrating Tibet into the Chinese economy.
Last Wednesday, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA) announced an agreement with China’s Foreign Trade Ministry which will make China the largest recipient of TDA grant aid in the world. The agreement comes after a Tiananmen-era sanction imposed on China was lifted.
“We are concerned that this money might be intended to fuel the Great Western Development scheme – China’s mechanism for assimilation of Tibet,” said Markey.
“There are provisions in the Tibetan Policy Act that would help protect Tibet from development policies and entities like PetroChina that move at the speed of business to threaten Tibetan culture.”