New US Act message of hope: Exiled Tibetans

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 28

Tibetans in exile have welcomed the US President Donald Trump signing the Tibetan Policy and Support Act (TPSA) into law.

“This legislation sends a powerful message of hope and justice to the Tibetans inside Tibet and bolsters US support for the protection of Tibetan people’s religious freedom, human rights, environmental rights and exile Tibetan democracy like never before,” said the ‘Central Tibetan Authority President’ Lobsang Sangay.

The move strengthens US policy on Tibet and reaffirms its government’s steadfast support for the Dalai Lama and the CTA, he added.

Interestingly, the Bill called upon the US Secretary of State not to authorise any new Chinese consulate till a US Consulate is established in Lhasa. The signing came after days of delay though the US Congress had approved the omnibus spending bill, which had the TPSA attached on December 22.

Built on the Tibet Policy Act signed by George Bush, the TPSA makes it official US policy that decisions regarding the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama are exclusively within the authority of the current Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist leaders and the Tibetan people. “Any interference by Chinese government officials will be met with serious sanctions and be deemed inadmissible into the United States,” said a CTA statement.

The bill acknowledges the CTA as the legitimate institution and Sikyong as the President of the CTA. It also strengthened funding for Tibetans inside and outside Tibet, estimated at about $ 25 million including $ 6 million (about Rs. 50 crore) for Tibetan communities in India and Nepal, $ 3 million (about Rs 25 crore) for bodies like CTA, $ 8 million (about Rs 60 crore) for Tibetan communities in China, $ 7.4 million (Rs 50 crore) for reporting on Tibet and Tibetans and $ 1 million (Rs 7.5 crore) for the Office of the US’ Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues.

The Tibetans-in-exile have especially appreciated the role played by the Bill’s sponsors—Senators Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin; and Congressmen Jim McGovern and Chris Smith—for introducing it in the Senate and House, respectively. 

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