DHARAMSALA, Dec 20: The President of the US Donald J. Trump has signed into law the H.R. 1872, the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act.
The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018, a bipartisan bill that calls for denial of access to the United States for Chinese officials who design and implement travel restrictions on American journalists, diplomats and citizens from entering Tibet which was unanimously passed by both the House and the Senate of the US was signed by the President Trump on December 19, 2018.
This law marks a new era of US support for Tibetans and a challenge to China’s discriminatory policies in Tibet, International Campaign for Tibet(ICT) said after the Act became law.
It signifies a more vigorous interest by the United States in Tibet and the Tibetan people, the ICT noted.
The President of the Central Tibetan Administration(CTA) Dr Lobsang Sangay has lauded the legislation as a very courageous step that sends the right message of hope and justice to Tibetans in Tibet and extend profound appreciation to the President for signing the bill into law on behalf of the six million Tibetans according to a report on Tibet.net, the official website of CTA.
“The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Law will not only make the perpetrators of human rights violations accountable but also bolster institutional and diplomatic engagement on Tibet. Again I thank the US Congress for passing the landmark bill and International Campaign of Tibet and everyone who contributed to making this a reality.”
H.R. 1872, the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018, is designed to address China’s exclusion of American journalists, diplomats and citizens from Tibet. It was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) and in the Senate by Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.)
The law prohibits Chinese officials who design and implement Tibetan travel restrictions from entering the United States and any visa currently held by such individuals will be revoked under the bill.
Beijing strongly opposes the bill after it was passed by the United States Congress earlier on Dec 12 saying it disregards the facts and interferes in China’s internal affairs.
“The bill violated the basic rules of international relations, and China has lodged solemn representations to the United States,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang has said at a daily news conference.
The bill, first introduced by introduced by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) in 2014 in the US Congress, promotes access to Tibet for US officials, journalists and citizens. Travel restrictions imposed by the Chinese government on Tibet are more severe than for any other provincial-level entity of China.