US House Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act

The House Judiciary Committee meets on July 25, 2018, to markup the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act. Image: ICT

DHARAMSALA, July 27: A bipartisan bill that calls for denial of access to the United States Chinese officials who design and implement Tibetan travel restrictions from entering the United States has been unanimously approved by the United States House Judiciary Committee.

“H.R. 1872, the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2017, addresses an issue of longstanding and increasing concern regarding China’s treatment of Tibetans living in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas controlled by China,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said applauding the committee  after the bill was unanimously approved by the committee by voice vote.

The Committee chair has further said that moving this bill is the right thing to do and that It is time that Congress take a stand with regard to access by foreign nationals to the Tibetan regions.

“The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act took a big step forward today when the House Judiciary Committee approved the bill unanimously,” International Campaign for Tibet(ICT) reported on July 25.

International Campaign for Tibet(ICT) President Matteo Mecacci has welcomed the unanimous approval of the bill by the United States House Judiciary Committee and called it an important first step that confirms the strong bipartisan support for the Tibetan people in the US Congress.

“The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act took a big step forward today when the House Judiciary Committee approved the bill unanimously,” ICT reported on July 25.

The next step for the act now is to move to the floor of the House of Representatives,  the report noted.

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act 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.

The bill, first introduced by introduced by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) way back in 2014 in the US Congress promotes access to Tibetan areas of China 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.

In addition to  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently expressing support for reciprocal access to Tibet for Americans in his statements to the House and Senate Foreign Affairs Committees, the bill now has more than 50 co-sponsors in the House. A companion bill was also introduced in the Senate by Sen. Rubio (R. – Fl.) and Sen. Baldwin (D. Wis.), and now has 8 co-sponsors.

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