The idea for the TPSA began at a strategy session in Speaker Pelosi’s office in 2019. This photo is from another strategy session a year later with ICT international staff and board members, Tibetan leaders, the speaker and her bipartisan Congressional colleagues.

When the leaders of the International Campaign for Tibet worked with the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to hold the fifth annual strategy session for Tibet on Capitol Hill, they were riding a wave of momentum. At the end of 2018, Congress had passed the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which took direct aim at China’s unfair policy of restricting Americans’ access to Tibet—which China annexed about 60 years earlier—even though Chinese citizens are free to travel throughout the US.

RATA was the most important Tibet-related legislation in more than a decade. But almost two decades had gone by since Congress passed the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, the most important law establishing US policy on Tibet. It was time for an update. And at the meeting in Pelosi’s office, the attendees began to discuss a new bill that would dramatically increase US support for Tibetans, including on the crucial issue of protecting the Dalai Lama’s succession from interference by the Chinese government.