By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, June 9: The US Senate passed a bipartisan bill with an overwhelming majority of 68-32 votes on Tuesday to further US tech investment to compete China in the global community. The ‘US Innovation and Competition Act’, also known as the Endless Frontier Act, allocated $250 billion in science to strengthen U.S. technology and research. The bill also includes several provisions on Tibet, disregarding attempts of ‘interference’ by the PRC in matters of the next reincarnation of Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.
The section titled ‘Policy with Respect to Tibet’ calls for the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues to “either be appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, or shall be an individual holding the rank of Under Secretary of State or higher.” It also calls for a Tibet Unit within the US embassy in Beijing until the US Chengdu consulate is restored, where it will hire two US personnel for the unit.
The bill further affirmed the TPSA passed in 2020 by stating that the US government should encourage the Secretary of State to engage with allies in the global community to support the Tibetan Buddhists’ right to choose their religious leaders and oppose any Chinese interference. The bill under section 3307 stated that any “interference by the Government of the People’s Republic of China or any other government in the process of recognizing a successor or reincarnation of the 14th Dalai Lama and any future Dalai Lamas would represent a clear abuse of the right to religious freedom of Tibetan Buddhists and the Tibetan people.”
The bill has a number of other China-related provisions that prohibits the social media app TikTok from being downloaded on government devices, blocks purchase of drones manufactured by companies backed by the CCP. It also allows diplomats and Taiwanese military to display their flag and uniforms in the United States on official business. The billion-dollar tech investment also mandates sanctions on Chinese entities engaged in U.S. cyber attacks or theft of U.S. intellectual property from American firms.