(TibetanReview.net, Jul28, 2018) – The House Judiciary Committee of the US Congress has on Jul 25 unanimously approved the long-pending bill for Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, paving the way for its discussion and voting on the floor of the House of Representatives.
The bipartisan legislation seeks to ensure that Americans are given the same access to Tibet as that given to Chinese citizens to the United States. It will ban from entering the United States not all Chinese citizens but only Chinese officials responsible for discriminating against Americans in the matter of such access to Tibet.
“It is time that Congress take a stand with regard to access by foreign nationals to the Tibetan regions,” Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va), chairman of the committee, was quoted as saying.
“If Chinese officials, journalists and other citizens are able to travel freely in this country, it’s only fair that their American counterparts are able to do the same,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash), was quoted as saying.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), ranking member of the Committee, has said the bill was important because it could help expose human rights violations taking place in Tibet.
Although China tries to keep the rest of the world out of Tibet, the Chinese government is sending a growing number of state delegations to Western countries and creating new state-controlled media outlets in capitals around the globe, including Washington, DC, Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) was cited as saying.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif) has said the Act would help make sure China’s relationship with the US was fair and reciprocal.
The bill, introduced by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass) and Randy Hultgren (R-Ill), now have more than 50 co-sponsors in the House. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Rubio (R – Fl) and Sen. Baldwin (D Wis), and currently has eight co-sponsors.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently expressed support for reciprocal access to Tibet for Americans in his statements to the House and Senate Foreign Affairs Committees.
Referring to the situation at present, Goodlatte has quoted International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) President Matteo Mecacci in a recent report that the Chinese government was trying to restrict access to Tibet to a degree that exceeded even North Korea, where at least some foreign media were based. By contrast, international journalists, diplomats and civilians are almost always denied access to Tibet, a historically independent nation that China has occupied for nearly 70 years and rules with an iron fist.