News and Views on Tibet

US House committee approves bill recognising Tibet’s unresolved political status

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The House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) in a historic hearing on Nov. 29 unanimously approved the bipartisan ‘Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Conflict Act,’ also known as the Resolve Tibet Act (Photo/Reuters)

By Tenzin Nyidon

DHARAMSHALA, Nov 30: The House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) in a historic hearing on Nov. 29 unanimously approved the bipartisan ‘Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Conflict Act,’ also known as the Resolve Tibet Act. The bill is an amended House version of the legislation initially introduced last year by long-time Tibet supporter Reps. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and Michael McCaul, R-Texas, alongside Senators Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Todd Young, R-Ind.

The bill recognises Tibet’s unresolved political status and holds China suspect of violating Tibetan people’s legitimate right to self-determination. The bill aims to counter the narrative propagated by the Chinese government, which asserts that Tibet has been an integral part of China since ancient times. Additionally, the HFAC-approved bill also makes clear that Tibet’s land mass does not only include the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) but also the significant Tibetan-inhabited areas in Gansu, Sichuan, Qinghai, and Yunnan provinces

“We thank HFAC Chair Michael McCaul, ranking member Gregory Meeks, and all the members of the committee for approving the Tibet bill, which builds on the incredible bipartisan support that the United States has always shown for our just cause,” President of the Tibetan government-in-exiled Penpa Tsering said after the approval of the bill, thanking all the concerned US officials for their support. 

“This bill will allow the United States to address its consistent calls for dialogue with more force and urgency while giving voice to Tibetans in their own country. This will not only help the cause of Tibetans, but also champion democracy, dialogue, and the cause of peace around the globe. Therefore, we are confident that this bill will advance through both houses of Congress and onto the President’s desk,” Sikyong further stated. 

Furthermore, the bill faults China for its refusal to engage in discussions with the Dalai Lama or his representatives. The bill also seeks to empower the position of US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, currently held by Under Secretary Uzra Zeya to counter CCP’s propaganda and address Tibet-related concerns effectively.

Despite nine rounds of dialogue between the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and representatives of the Beijing administration, held from 2002-10, China has rejected the Middle Way Approach, the official stance of the exile Tibetan government, that seeks genuine autonomy under the framework of the Chinese constitution. The diplomatic stalemate between the two sides has consequently stalled discussions regarding the potential return of His Holiness to Tibet.

This unprecedented move by the US House committee under the Biden Administration is followed by two other Acts that work on demanding more access from inside Tibet and reaffirming that the reincarnation of the next Dalai Lama falls strictly in the hands of the Tibetan people; Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act (2018) and Tibetan Policy and Support Act (2020) respectively.

The approval of the bill also comes just days after President Joe Biden met Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the side-lines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, where the White House said that Biden raised concerns about China’s human rights abuses in Tibet. 

2 Responses

  1. This is a good development especially when it’s bipartisan. Tibet was invaded and illegally occupied by communist China. It was day light robbery but the Chinese would like to think that there is no issue of Tibet except the issue of Dalai Lama’s return. The return of the Dalai Lama issue was an appendage to the so called “17 Point” Treaty which Tibet was forced to sign at the threat of war! The Dalai Lama left Lhasa for Lhuntse Dzong as the Chinese forced Ngapo Ngawang Jigme and his colleagues to “accept” the entry of Chinese troops to Tibet. They resisted with all their might telling the Chinese, Tibet has no need of Chinese troops and it in fact endangers the life of the Dalai Lama. The Chinese would not accept no for an answer but the delegation was in no mood to accept Chinese demands either. Therefore, the talks broke down and there was a hiatus of a week when they had virtually no talks at all. The Tibetan delegation had no way of relaying the message to Lhasa, so, they were in a very difficult situation. The Chinese threatened them with personal violence if they didn’t accept Chinese demands and thus they were forced to accept the Chinese demands of PLA encroachment of Tibetan territory without the consent of the Tibetan Government delegation. Since, the Dalai Lama was out of Lhasa, they demanded the Chinese to have a special clause that specifically dealt with the return of the Dalai Lama for which the Chinese will have no objection. Out of the “17 points”, not a single clause was observed by the Chinese communist Government. In fact they reduced the TIBET ISSUE into Dalai Lama issue as if the rest of the Tibetan people have accepted Chinese occupation! This is how they manipulated the Tibet issue and deceived the world by terming the invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation as “liberation”!!!! Under international law no country can invade another country and claim ownership. This is illegal. So, the Chinese forced Tibet to sign the so called “17 point” treaty to legitimise Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet to hoodwink the international community. It was only for international consumption and the Chinese had no intention to live by it! Therefore, under international law, Tibet is under illegal Chinese occupation just as France was from 1940 to 1944 after Germany occupied France and formed a puppet entity called Vichy Government which was a de facto Nazi dictatorship. Tibet has not lost its sovereignty just as France didn’t lose its sovereignty under Nazi occupation!
    Many Tibetans through lack of historical knowledge and precedence, feel it’s impossible to gain Tibet’s independence. They don’t know that there is hardly a single nation on earth which has not experienced occupation by another nation. This includes, the countries most Tibetans are most familiar with such as India itself! The Chinese have themselves been invaded and occupied by Mongols, Manchurians and Japan. Most of the countries in Asia and Africa were colonies of Britain, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Portugal! The British were conquered by the Romans from Italy and the Viking Normans from Scandinavia. The list is endless. The Palestinian people are fighting for independence because their country has been illegally occupied by Israel! The reason why all free nations have achieved independence is because they WANTED INDEPENDENCE! THEY WERE PREPARED TO DIE FOR IT! Look at the present day Palestinian independence Movement. It started in earnest in 1948 with the founding of the Zionist State of Israel on Palestinian land!!! Hundreds and thousands of Palestinians have been killed and are being slaughtered in Gaza right at this moment BUT THAT WILL NOT DIM THEIR FIGHT FOR THEIR COUNTRY! China may seem influential and even powerful militarily at the moment but THIS IS NOT SUSTAINABLE! Remember, the Soviet Union collapsed and communist China is BOUND TO COLLAPSE! It’s only a matter of TIME! All totalitarian systems that seem stable finally falls apart just like the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia and those nations subjugated gained independence. The totalitarian system in communist China is not sustainable especially now the Chinese economy is on a down ward spiralling trend.
    They can’t even afford to pay their civil servants so we are told. Thousands of young people are without jobs. These are bad omen for the regime. TIBETANS MUST WREST OUR NATION FROM THE CRUEL CLUTCHES OF COMMUNIST CHINA! Looking at the history of other nations and their Herculean effort for national independence, Tibetans must muster the COURAGE TO FIGHT FOR OUR NATION INDEPENDENCE FROM COMMUNIST CHINA’S COLONIAL OCCUPATION. WE MUST BE PREPARED FOR ANY EVENTUALITY. Look at the Burmese Democracy Movement. They were savaged by the junta mercilessly. They didn’t cower down and gave up but instead took to ARMED STRUGGLE against the might of the Tatmadaw (Burmese military). Who would have even imagined, they would win? Today, they have overrun hundreds of Burmese military posts and posed for victory against the might of the military junta!!! The Taliban has defeated the mighty US and installed its own Emirate of Afghanistan. There is a saying, where there is a will, there is a way. TIBETANS ARE WARRIORS RACE BY NATURE. We once had a mighty empire! WE MUST BELIEVE IN OURSELVES TO REGAIN OUR INDEPENDENCE AND LIVE AS A FREE PEOPLE LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD! Being apologists of colonialism, occupation, subjugation, oppression and humiliation is not a batch of honour!!!

  2. Much appreciated for the genuine support and thanks to all those involved in working hard to get this bill approved unanimously. Friends in need is friends indeed as there is a saying, we Tibetans cannot forget India and United States who consistently given all sorts of support and encourage Tibetans to survive though the powerful CCP always tried hard to eradicate Tibet from global map. The resolution has refreshed our strength to fight for the truth and hope to regain freedom.

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