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US lawmakers introduce ‘Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act’ ahead of Xi-Trump summit
- April 05, 2017 17:56
By Tenzin Monlam

DHARAMSHALA, April 5: Ahead of first ever summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump at the latter's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, US lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill in the United State’s House of Representatives and United States Congress to promote access by Americans to Tibetan areas.

Longtime supporters of Tibet, Senator Marco Rubio and Tammy Baldwin, introduced the bill known as ‘Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act’ in the Senate where as Congressmen Jim McGovern and Randy Hultgren introduced it in the House of Representatives.

“America needs to stand up for human rights at home and abroad. Both Democratic and Republican presidents have stressed the importance of protecting Tibet’s human rights and their unique religious, cultural and linguistic traditions, but we can and must do more,” Congressman McGovern said while introducing the Act in the House.

Matteo Mecacci, President of International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said the introduction of the bill is another example of the consistent US Congress’ support for Tibet. “It conveys a clear message to the Trump Administration regarding the implementation of the principles of ‘reciprocity’ in its relations with China, aimed at promoting more access to Tibet for US citizens, including diplomats, politicians, non-governmental organizations, and journalists,” he said.

The bill aims at reciprocity from China allowing US citizens including Tibetan-American access into Tibet, which otherwise is off limits for American under heavy policing and surveillance.

Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) China Director, Sophie Richardson, said, “Torture, disappearances, imprisoning peaceful advocates, destroying religious communities, Internet censorship – President Xi has plenty to answer for on these subjects.”

Richardson, however, raised a doubt if he would be asked on these issues and ‘asked to change course’ during the first ever meeting of the leaders of the two superpowers. “No doubt President Xi will offer soothing words about China’s role in the world,” Richardson said. “But no one should be fooled by a man and a government who preside through brutality and repression. Xi’s record speaks for itself.”

The rights group in its latest report noted that the outlook for human rights, freedom of expression and religion in China remains in ‘dire’ situation under President Xi.

The group also highlighted the demolition of Larung Gar, forceful eviction of the monks and nuns and subjecting them to political re-education.