By Tenzin Sangmo
ICT Staff and representative of CATA at the Senate for the second day of the ICT Special Mini-Lobby Day
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 22: International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) mobilized Tibetan Americans and supporters in the US for the special Tibet Mini-Lobby day on Monday and Tuesday to strengthen support for the Tibet Policy and Support Act 2019, a new bill introduced in both houses of Congress last month.
ICT members and Tibetan Americans across the US visited offices of Representatives and Senators in the Capitol Hill and locally to push for more co-sponsors for the passage of the bill to become a law.
The bipartisan bill was introduced in the Senate on Sept. 24 by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and in the House of Representatives on Sept. 13 by Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.).
ICT President Matteo Mecacci, in a video on ICT Facebook page, said the idea is to push the bill forward, have a markup first in foreign relations committee both in the house and senates and on floors of both houses.
“After the success of Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act(RATA), it is time to move on with new legislation,” he said as the ICT staffers and representative of Capital Area Tibetan Association(CATA) prepares for over 30 meetings taking place in Senate today after having gained considerable support by Representatives of House on the first day.”
The lobby includes delivering letters and petitions sent by more than 20 Tibetan associations across countries.
According to ICT, “As of the morning of Oct. 18, nearly 12,000 letters had been sent to Congress members asking them to cosponsor the bill, which will dramatically upgrade US support for Tibet.”
The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) had vigorously lobbied for the bill in the last few months including a visit by President Dr. Lobsang Sangay to the Capitol Hill where he met with US members of the Congress and the Senate including Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The bill that seeks to update the landmark Tibet Policy Act of 2002, includes new provisions, including on reincarnation (of and including H.H. the Dalai Lama), CTA, democracy and other issues concerning the Tibetan people.
The bill would make it official US policy that the selection of Tibetan Buddhist leaders is a purely religious issue and that any Chinese official who attempts to interfere in the succession or reincarnation of the current Dalai Lama, now 84, would be subject to sanctions.
The bill would also address water security and environmental issues in Tibet and would not permit China to open a new consulate in the US until a US consulate is allowed in Tibet’s capital of Lhasa.