DHARAMSALA, 18 Sept: A bill entailing sanctions against Chinese officials interfering with the selection of a new Dalai Lama has been introduced in the US House of Representatives.
The bipartisan Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2019 was reportedly introduced in the House by Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China earlier on Friday to modify the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002.
The bill—labelled “H.R.4331 – To modify and reauthorize the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, and for other purposes”—has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Committee on the Judiciary in the next stage in the adoption process before it reaches a vote on the House floor.
It is expected to be introduced in the Senate this week by the commission’s Co-Chair Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and others.
The legislation declares that the official US policy on the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan Buddhist leaders are exclusively religious issues that the Tibetan Buddhist community should decide on and under the bill, any Chinese officials who attempt to interfere in this process could face sanctions that could include having their assets frozen and their entry to the US denied.
The bill seeks to build on the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, a landmark legislation that enshrined support for Tibet in US law also include other purposes such as ban on establishing any new Chinese consulates in the US until a US consulate is established in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet while calling 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.
Besides, the new bill also seeks to deepen US diplomatic support for the Tibetan people while calling on protecting Tibet’s environment as it identifies numerous environmental crises occurring in Tibet under Chinese rule.
The bipartisan bill has been co-sponsored by seven other representatives; 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).