WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), welcomed the passage of their bipartisan Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2019 (S.2539). The legislation, included in the fiscal year 2021 omnibus spending bill, seeks to update and strengthen the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 to address emerging human rights, religious freedom, and other challenges faced by the Tibetan people. Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives (H.R. 4331).
“We have come together with one voice by passing the Tibetan Policy and Support Act,” said Risch. “I have long supported the rights and freedoms of the people of Tibet. I am particularly proud that this legislation reaffirms U.S. efforts to ensure that the next Dalai Lama is appointed solely by the Tibetan Buddhist faith community without interference from the Chinese Communist Party.”
“Passage of the Tibetan Policy and Support Act sends an important message that the United States stands with the Tibetan people and against any effort by the Chinese Communist Party to interfere with the religious process of identifying Tibetan Buddhist leaders, such as the Dalai Lama,” said Rubio. “We must continue to shine a light on the grave assaults against the Tibetan people’s religion, culture, and language by the Chinese Communist government, both inside Tibet and outside the PRC. I applaud the passage of this bipartisan legislation and urge the State Department to use the tools it provides to address escalating human rights abuses in Tibet.”
“Bipartisan passage of the Tibet Policy and Support Act sends a strong message to Chinese officials that the U.S. will not stay silent in the face of inference in the Tibetan Buddhist practices, including the deeply spiritual process of selecting the next Dalai Lama. Such actions will be met with consequences, such as the possibility of targeted Global Magnitsky sanctions,” said Cardin. “Congress stands united in its support for the human rights, religious freedom and genuine autonomy of the Tibetan people.”
“I’m very pleased that our bill to update the Tibet Policy Act will soon become law,” said Feinstein. “It addresses the worsening human rights conditions and limitations on religious freedom in Tibet as well as China’s efforts to intrude on matters best left to the Tibetan people. I thank Senator Rubio for his partnership on this bill and hope it brings about positive change for the Tibetan people.”