Following a unanimous vote by the US House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, a bill aimed at strengthening US efforts to push China to engage in negotiations with representatives of the Dalai Lama to settle the ongoing Tibet-China dispute is now ready to be moved to the House floor.
The bipartisan bill referred to as the Resolve Tibet Act was approved in a markup meeting attended by Tibetan Americans, as reported by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), an advocacy group based in Washington.
The Resolve Tibet Act sets forth the official stance of the United States, stipulating that China must resume discussions with the Dalai Lama's envoys. The bill also emphasise the unresolved conflict between Tibet and China and Tibet’s undetermined legal status under international law.
The legislation, an amended version of the House bill, was introduced last year. However, the discussion process has been at a standstill since 2010.
Introduced as a revised version in the House last year, the bill's objective is to pressure China to restart discussions with the Dalai Lama's representatives or democratically elected Tibetan leaders, as reported by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT).
The legislation will also refute the Chinese assertion that Tibet has been a part of China from ancient times. Furthermore, it will empower the State Department to actively counter China’s disinformation about Tibetan history, people and institutions.
The Resolve Tibet Act states that China's policies are “systematically suppressing the ability of the Tibetan people to preserve their religion, culture, language, history, way of life and environment.”
The Resolve Tibet Act acknowledges that Tibetans “are a people with a distinct religious, cultural, linguistic and historical identity,” as per the ICT.
The approval of the bill comes just days after President Joe Biden met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco. During this meeting, according to the White House, Biden expressed apprehensions regarding China's infringements on human rights in Tibet.
The bill known as the Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act stipulates that the conflict between Tibet and China should be settled in compliance with international law, including the UN Charter.
It emphasises that the resolution should be achieved peacefully, through dialogue and without any preconditions, according to the ICT.
According to the legislation, the US should promote substantive dialogue without preconditions between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama, his representatives or the democratically elected leaders of the Tibetan community.
Additionally, the US could also explore activities to improve prospects for dialogue leading to a negotiated agreement on Tibet and coordinate with other governments in multilateral efforts towards the goal of a negotiated agreement on Tibet.
Moreover, it should prompt the Chinese government to acknowledge and respond to the desires of the Tibetan people concerning their unique historical, cultural, religious, and linguistic identity.
The repression in Tibet has intensified over the decades and China’s constant attacks have constantly deteriorated the lives of Tibetan people, Voice Against Autocracy reported.
Since the assault on Tibetan sovereignty by China in 1951, the quality of life for Tibetans has persistently declined. Following the 2008 demonstrations, more than 150 individuals have resorted to self-immolation as a means of protest.
Despite 150 individuals resorting to self-immolation, the relatives of these protesters have undergone torture. They are routinely harassed, thrown into prison for “re-education,” denied political and medical rights, and even killed outright if deemed a threat.
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