[Outlook] WASHINGTON, June 13: A bipartisan group of US lawmakers have introduced a legislation in the House of Representatives seeking an open and accessible Tibet to objectively assess the human rights situation in the restive Himalayan region of China.
Introduced by Congressman Jim McGovern, the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act (R4851) promotes access to Tibetan areas of China for US officials, journalists and citizens. Currently, travel restrictions imposed by the Chinese government on Tibet are more severe than for any other provincial-level entity of China.
“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,” McGovern said.
“Our aim is not to limit exchange; it is to foster exchanges between America and Tibet. 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,” he said.
Congressman Joe Pitts is the lead Republican co-sponsor of the bill. The bill has been sent to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. But Congressional experts say the bill has little chance of being enacted.
Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and the Tibetan government-in-exile have been based in Dharamsala, India since 1959. China does not recognise the Tibetan government-in-exile or the Dalai Lama and considers the Tibetan leader as a “separatist”.