Tibet issues included in landmark US bill to out-compete China on tech innovation

DHARAMSALA, 9 June: The US Senate has passed a bill to reinvigorate the US technological footprint to counter China with a bipartisan vote which included several significant provisions on Tibet.

The U.S Innovation and Competition Act also known as the Endless Frontier Act which was introduced by US Senator Todd Young’s (R-Ind.) passed the Senate by a vote of 68-32 on Tuesday and now heads to the House.

The US President Joe Biden has applauded the p the US Senate for coming together to pass the Bill.

“This legislation addresses key elements that were included in my American Jobs Plan, and I am encouraged by this bipartisan effort to advance those elements separately through this bill,

While the bill would boost US funding for research and technology manufacturing to increase America’s competitiveness, strengthen national security and grow the economy, under SEC. 3306. POLICY WITH RESPECT TO TIBET: the bill states that the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues shall “either be appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate or shall be an individual holding the rank of Under Secretary of State or higher.”

One of the provisions in the bill also calls for setting up a Tibet Unit within the Political Section of the United States Embassy in Beijing until the US Chengdu Consulate is restored or when a US Lhasa Consulate is created. The bill mandates, “The Secretary shall assign not fewer than 2 United States direct-hire personnel to Tibet Unit and hire not fewer than 1 locally engaged member for such unit”. 

Provisions incorporated in the bill also calls for language training to be made available by the Secretary to the assigned personnel.

The bill, affirming sentiments of the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020, stated that the US should encourage the Secretary of State to engage with allies to support Tibetan Buddhist leaders’ self-determination in His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation and to oppose Chinese interference.

United States Policy and International Engagement on the Succession or reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and Religious Freedom of Tibetan Buddhists: the provision reaffirms the policies mentioned in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 that any “interference by the Government of the People’s Republic of China or any other government in the process of recognizing a successor or reincarnation of the 14th Dalai Lama and any future Dalai Lamas would represent a clear abuse of the right to religious freedom of Tibetan Buddhists and the Tibetan people’’.

The bill further called for international efforts to protect the religious freedom of Tibetan Buddhists and added that “The Secretary of State should engage with United States allies and partners to

(1) support Tibetan Buddhist religious leaders’ sole religious authority to identify and install the 15th Dalai Lama;

(2) oppose claims by the Government of the People’s Republic of China that the PRC has the authority to decide for Tibetan Buddhists the 15th Dalai Lama; and

(3) reject interference by the Government of the People’s Republic of China in the religious freedom of Tibetan Buddhists”.

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