By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 10 November 2020
Lobsang Sangay, President of the Central Tibetan Administration, will tour the US from next week to seek support for moving forward the Tibet Policy and Support Act, to eventually have President Donald Trump sign it into law before he leaves the White House.
Sangay, who just returned from the US after a similar lobbying visit, said there’s still some time till the new administration takes over in January, to lobby the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to discuss the bill, and bring it up for Trump to sign.
“Much of the work has been completed, there’s still some time to try to get it passed in the Senate, and for the President to sign it,” Sangay said.
The bill was passed in the US House of Representatives by a majority bi-partisan vote in January. It has since remained pending with the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
The current bill was to modify and re-authorise the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002. If enacted, the Act will set the US policy on Tibet.
The Tibet Policy and Support Act is a bill in the US Congress that would outline United States policy on Tibet: promoting the human rights and the distinct religious, cultural, linguistic, and historical identity of the Tibetan people, including the right of the Tibetan people to select, educate, and venerate their own religious leaders in accordance with their established religious practice and system.
The Act will also mandate the US President to provide funds to nongovernmental organisations to support sustainable development, cultural and historical preservation, health care, education, and environmental sustainability projects for Tibetan communities in Tibet.
A Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues under the Secretary of State will coordinate the US policy on Tibet, and work towards promoting substantive dialogue without preconditions between the Chinese leaders and the Dalai Lama or his representatives or democratically-elected leaders of the Tibetan community for a negotiated agreement of autonomy for Tibet.
Further, the US will seek to establish a US consulate in Lhasa, Tibet, to provide consular services to United States citizens travelling in Tibet.
Democratic Representative from Massachusetts Jim McGovern sponsored the bill.
Sangay took the opportunity to congratulate the President-elect Joe Biden, and said he will lobby and reach out to possible Biden staff members in the White House for support.
He praised President Trump for his “strong” support for the Tibetan issue, and his generous funds for the Tibetan people.