By Tenzin Sangmo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 3: The US President signed into law US Congress’ Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018 (S.2736) on Dec. 31, 2018. The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), lauding the passage of the act, said the act includes a reference to Tibet.
Known as ARIA, the act aims to “develop a long-term strategic vision and a comprehensive, multifaceted, and principled United States policy for the Indo-Pacific region.” It says, “The United States has a fundamental interest in defending human rights and promoting the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region.”
Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) were the lead sponsors of the Act.
The Act includes a reference to supporting “activities preserving cultural traditions and promoting sustainable development, education, and environmental conservation in Tibetan communities” in the region.
The Act expresses grave concerns with Chinese actions that seek to further constrain space for civil society within China and to undermine a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.
“This Act rightly places the issue of Tibet within the parameters of US security interests. Tibet occupies an Asian fault zone of clashing cultures and big-power politics,” ICT president Matteo Macacci said.Following is the Act’s relevant reference to Tibet.
SEC. 409. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
(a) Promotion of Democracy in the Indo-Pacific Region.–
(1) In general.–There is authorized to be appropriated $210,000,000, for each of the fiscal years 2019 through 2023, to promote democracy, strengthen civil society, human rights, rule of law, transparency, and accountability in the Indo- Pacific region, including for universities, civil society, and multilateral institutions that are focusing on education awareness, training, and capacity building.
(2) Democracy in china–Amounts appropriated pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be made available for United States Government efforts, led by the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, to promote democracy, the rule of law, and human rights in the People’s Republic of China.
(3) Tibet. –Amounts appropriated pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be made available for nongovernmental organizations to support activities preserving cultural traditions and promoting sustainable development, education, and environmental conservation in Tibetan communities in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in other Tibetan communities in China, India, and Nepal.