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Bill making it US policy to act for resolving Tibet issue set for congressional vote

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(TibetanReview.net, Nov30’23) – A bipartisan bill which would require the United State government to push China to negotiate with the exile Tibetan leadership to resolve the longstanding Tibet-China dispute now heads for a floor vote after it was unanimously approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States Congress on Nov 29. It is not clear yet when this will take place.

The bill, Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act, and known as the Resolve Tibet Act, will seek to pressure the Chinese government to resume negotiations with the Dalai Lama’s envoys or the democratically elected leadership of the Tibetan people.

The latest series of Sino-Tibetan talks came to an abrupt end in 2010 after ten rounds, with China refusing further contacts after the Tibetan side’s presentation of a proposal for autonomy for an undivided Tibet and a set of clarifications thereon.

The bill seeks to dismiss as inaccurate China’s claim that Tibet has been part of China since antiquity and will empower the State Department to actively counter China’s disinformation about Tibetan history, people and institutions.

The bill, with an amendment, was introduced last year by Reps. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and Michael McCaul, R-Texas, as well as Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Todd Young, R-Ind.

Committee Chairman McCaul, a main sponsor of the bill in the House, has expressed confidence that it will “pass the Senate and be signed into law.”

Likewise, McGovern has said: “Under international law, Tibetans are a people who have the right to determine their own destiny. Also under international law, there is a right to truth. The truth is that Tibet has not always been part of China, as the Chinese government claims. My bill requires the State Department to counter the PRC’s disinformation about Tibet, its history and its institutions, including that of the Dalai Lama. Rather than lie about the history of Tibet, I call on the Chinese Government to restart dialogue with the Dalai Lama to resolve the long-standing dispute between Tibet and China and respect the aspirations of the Tibetan people.”

Expressing support for the bill, ranking Member Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-NY, has said: “For far too long, Beijing has repressed the Tibetan people and shirked its commitments to work with the Dalai Lama and his representatives to resolve the Tibet question through dialogue. I am deeply concerned by the ongoing effort by Beijing to dilute the distinct religious, cultural, linguistic and historical identity of the Tibetan people … This is an important and very timely measure.”

Adding his voice of support, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., the chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, has made it clear: “This bill authorizes the State Department to take actions to counter Chinese Communist propaganda directed against Tibet, including about Tibet’s history and institutions, and for that reason alone it should be supported. But during a month when the atheist Communist Party claims that the Dalai Lama cannot recognize a successor without their approval, this bill is timely and sends the right message that this Congress stands with the Tibetan people and their struggle for freedom and fundamental human rights.”

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., has called the bill “an important statement by the Congress” while being “so pleased to want to vote for it.”

Given how divided the US congress is otherwise, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., has said: “Miracles never cease. Me and Chairman McGovern on the same side of an issue. It’s awesome when that bipartisanship can happen.”

Noting that in the face of the Dalai Lama’s push for peace “since the 1950 illegal invasion of the sovereign nation of Tibet by dictator Mao Zedong”, during which “China has continued their cultural genocide, announcing Tibet does not exist and pushing for the false name of ‘Xizang,’ Rep. Joe Wilson, R-SC, has called the bill “the beginning of passage of legislation to stand up for the people of Tibet and stand against the Chinese Communist Party genocide in Tibet.”

Welcoming the committee passage of the bill, International Campaign for Tibet President Tencho Gyatso has said her group was looking forward to “further support from Congressional leaders toward speedy passage of the Resolve Tibet Act into law.”

The bill, when it becomes an Act, would state that it is US policy that the dispute between Tibet and China must be resolved in accordance with international law, including the UN Charter, by peaceful means through dialogue without preconditions.

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