(TibetanReview.net, Mar02, 2015) – A Bill has again been introduced in the US Congress which if adopted will deny access to Chinese government officials responsible for policies in Tibet unless China allows free access to US citizens to that territory, said Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) Feb 27. The bipartisan legislative proposal, HR 1112, titled as Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act 2015, was introduced by Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA) on Feb 26, 2015.
ICT said the Bill seeks to deny access to the United States by Chinese officials who are responsible for creating or administering policies on travel to Tibetan areas until China eliminates discriminatory restrictions on access by Americans to Tibet.
A similar Bill was introduced last year, but it apparently lapsed. At that time, Congressman McGovern said in a press release, “Restricted access to Tibet leaves Tibetans in virtual isolation from the world community, limiting international exchange and the ability to objectively assess the human rights situation there.” And he added: “Our goal is an open and accessible Tibet, where Americans can visit and learn from the wonders of the Tibetan Plateau – its natural beauty, its people, and its rich culture and religious heritage.”
While Chinese officials, including from occupied Tibet, freely visit the USA, no Member of Congress appeared to have been permitted by China to visit Tibet in a like manner since the 1990s, said the ICT statement. Although a few visits by US Congressional staff had occurred since 2008, they were on a tight itinerary controlled by government minders. On the other hand, delegations of officials from Tibet Autonomous Region, including the chairman, visited the US Congress last year and others had visited on several occasions in recent years, the statement pointed out.
Apart from Reps. McGovern and Pitts, the current bill’s original cosponsors are Keith Ellison (D-MN), Tom Marino (R-PA), Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Niki Tsongas (D-MA).