US Congressman McGovern announces introduction of pro-Tibet bill
DHARAMSALA, July 22: US Congressman James McGovern said he’s been frustrated with the ‘lack of imagination’ from the U.S. State Department and the international community in coming up with ‘creative ways to put pressure on China to open up Tibet and change some of their abusive policies’, according to a report on masslive.com
McGovern made the statement while announcing the introduction of H.R. 4851, the Reciprocal access to Tibet Act, before a crowd of Tibetan-Americans and their supporters in front of Northampton City Hall Monday.
McGovern said the bill would promote access to Tibetan areas of the People’s Republic of China by U.S. officials, journalists and other citizens. It would exert pressure by barring Chinese officials who design and implement Tibetan travel restrictions from entering the United States.
“As mutual access and reciprocity are the basis of diplomatic law, this bill would render inadmissible to the United States the Chinese authorities determined to be responsible for designing and implementing restrictions on travel to the Tibetan Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas,” said McGovern.
Noting that the bill would be more than a symbolic action, the Congressman said China is not likely to change its ways if there are no sanctions behind statements of condemnation.
“When Chinese officials come here, they get access to anything they want,” McGovern said to reporters.
“The people gathered here can’t go see their relatives. US officials can’t go check out the human rights situation, or confirm reports of oppression. So this is something I think those responsible for those policies in China will feel.”
“The world community is good at issuing press releases, but they’re afraid that China might get mad if they do anything more than that,” said McGovern. “Well, though. We ought to be mad at how China is treating these people.”
McGovern’s bill is co-sponsored by Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania and has been referred to the Judiciary Committee and to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Tibetans at the gathering thanked Rep. McGovern for his initiative and expressed their gratitude by offering him traditional Tibetan ceremonial scarves.