The Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act vote

In a second vote, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Resolve Tibet Act today, June 12, 2024. It now goes to the White House for President Biden’s signature.

Speaking on the House floor as he raised the bill, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) spoke in support of the Resolve Tibet Act, saying, “the US strongly condemns all oppression and coercion of Tibetans.” An original sponsor of the bill, McCaul added that it will help “put the people of Tibet in charge of their own future.”

Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA), the author of the bill, welcomed another chance to spotlight it. He urged his colleagues to pass the Resolve Tibet Act and said that with this bill, “we hope to restart dialogue between Tibet and China.”

Representative Bill Keating (D-MA) rose to speak in favor as well, saying the bill calls out Beijing’s “oppressive tactics and relentless disinformation campaign” about Tibet.

“This latest indication of American support of Tibet is a source of hope and encouragement to the Tibetan people, who have been nonviolently struggling against the Chinese government for more than six decades for human rights and democratic freedoms,” International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) President Tencho Gyatso said as voting concluded.

She added: “I thank the main sponsors of the bill – Representative Jim McGovern, Chairman Michael McCaul, Senator Jeff Merkley, and Senator Todd Young – for their leadership. The Resolve Tibet Act is a strong message to China that the Tibet issue has to be resolved through negotiation instead of an assault on Tibet’s unique and ancient civilization.”

Previously passed by the House in February and the Senate in May, the Resolve Tibet Act emerged from the two legislative bodies with minor wording differences that necessitated a return to the House floor. It passed again today with 391 votes in favor.

To the president’s desk

The next and final step is for President Biden to sign the bill. This should happen within the next two weeks, turning the Resolve Tibet Act into law.

The Resolve Tibet Act will strengthen US efforts to push the Chinese government to resolve the longstanding Tibet-China dispute through dialogue with Tibetan leaders and arm the State Department’s Special Coordinator for Tibet office with more tools to combat the CCP’s disinformation on Tibet.

Quote from Congress members and Tibetan leaders

Representative Jim McGovern, D-MA, said: “Let the overwhelming passage of our strong, bipartisan bill be a clear message to the Tibetan people: America stands with you on the side of human dignity, and we support you in your quest to secure the basic rights to which you are entitled under international law. The People’s Republic of China has systematically denied Tibetans the right to self-determination and continues to deliberately erase Tibetan religion, culture, and language. The ongoing oppression of the Tibetan people is a grave tragedy, and our bill provides further tools that empower both America and the international community to stand up for justice and peace.”

Representative Michael McCaul, R-TX, said: “Tibetans, like all people, have the right to religious freedom – which includes freedom from CCP surveillance, censorship, and detention. If the CCP truly does respect ‘sovereignty’ as it claims to do then it will engage in peaceful dialogue with the Tibetans to resolve this conflict, not force the Tibetans to accept a CCP proposal. Passing this bipartisan bill demonstrates America’s resolve that the CCP’s status quo in Tibet is not acceptable.”

Senator Jeff Merkley, D-OR, said: “The people of Tibet deserve to be in charge of their own future, and, today, Congress has voted to stand with Tibetans in their struggle for freedom and self-determination. The Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act helps counter misinformation from the Chinese government about Tibet and pushes for negotiations between the People’s Republic of China and Tibet to end this longstanding dispute. I look forward to President Biden swiftly signing this bill into law—the people of Tibet cannot wait any longer.”

Senator Todd Young, R-IN, said: “Our bipartisan bill will refresh U.S. policy towards Tibet and push for negotiations that advance freedom for the Tibetan people and a peaceful resolution to the CCP’s conflict with the Dalai Lama. Congressional passage of this legislation further demonstrates America’s resolve that the CCP’s status quo – both in Tibet and elsewhere – is not acceptable. I look forward to this important effort becoming law and working with my colleagues and the Administration to ensure swift and effective implementation.”

Namgyal Choedup, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration, said: “Senate passage of the Resolve Tibet Act is a clear message that China’s systematic oppression and erasure of Tibetan identity is never the answer to resolving the Tibet-China dispute. The Central Tibet Administration remains fully committed to His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s vision of a Middle Way to find a mutually beneficial and long-lasting negotiated solution to the Tibet-China dispute. We are grateful for Senator Merkley and Senator Young’s leadership in showing that America will not concede to China’s false claims and refusal to follow international law. Until China comes back to the negotiating table in good faith, the Tibetan people will never abandon hope and will remain resilient in their non-violent resistance. Ending the Tibet-China dispute is within grasp—if China is willing to abandon lies for truth.”

Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ, Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, said: “The people of Tibet will not be forgotten, and the enactment of the bipartisan Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act underscores that fact. The Chinese Communist Party cannot erase the history, language and culture of the Tibetan people, nor the central importance religious faith plays in the everyday lives of Tibetans. We stand in solidarity with the Dalai Lama in his quest for a lasting and just peace.”

What the bill does

The Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act states that it is US policy that the dispute between Tibet and China remains unresolved in accordance with international law.

The legislation also:

  • Empowers the Special Coordinator for Tibet to actively and directly counter disinformation about Tibet from the Chinese government and Communist Party, including working to ensure that US government statements and documents counter disinformation about Tibet.
  • Rejects as “inaccurate” China’s false claims that Tibet has been part of China since “ancient times.”
  • Promotes substantive dialogue without preconditions between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama or his representatives or the democratically elected leaders of the Tibetan community. The US could also explore activities to improve prospects for dialogue leading to a negotiated agreement on Tibet.
  • Affirms the State Department ‘s responsibility to coordinate with other governments in multilateral efforts toward the goal of a negotiated agreement on Tibet.
  • Encourages China’s government to address the aspirations of the Tibetan people regarding their distinct historical, cultural, religious and linguistic identity.

Learn more about the Resolve Tibet Act.