(TibetanReview.net, Sep17’19) – A bill has been introduced in the US Congress which if passed will require Chinese officials who attempt to interfere in the reincarnation process of the Tibetan Buddhists to be subjected to targeted sanctions. The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on Sep 13 and a similar bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate later this week, said Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) Sep 16.
The bipartisan Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2019 was introduced in the House by Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, while the commission’s Co-Chair Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and others are expected to introduced it in the Senate.
The bill builds on the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, a landmark legislation that enshrined support for Tibet into US law.
The bill seeks to make it official US policy that the succession or reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan Buddhist leaders are exclusively religious issues that the Tibetan Buddhist community should decide on.
The bill, which seeks to modify and reauthorize the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 and includes other purposes as well, has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Committee on the Judiciary in the next stage in the adoption process.
The bill also says no new Chinese consulates should be allowed in the US until a US consulate is established in Lhasa, Tibet’s historical capital.
The Tibetan Policy and Support Act is co-sponsored by Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Thomas Suozzi (D-NY), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Ben McAdams (D-Utah).
Under the new bill, any Chinese official deemed complicit in identifying or installing a future Dalai Lama will face sanctions that could include having their assets frozen and their entry to the US denied.
The bill also calls on the special coordinator for Tibetan issues in the State Department to build international diplomatic coalitions that will oppose any effort by China to interfere in the Dalai Lama’s succession.
China has made it clear, and adopted a policy document, mandating that the next Dalai Lama be born in the People’s Republic of China and be confirmed under the direction of the atheist communist Chinese leadership.
The Dalai Lama has said his reincarnation can only be born in a free country, not in any territory under China’s control.