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China may soon face a major challenge from the United States over its control of Tibet. Here's how | External Affairs Defense Security News

China may soon face a major challenge from the United States over its control of Tibet.  Here's how |  External Affairs Defense Security News
China may soon face a major challenge from the United States over its control of Tibet.  Here's how |  External Affairs Defense Security News


Xi Jinping, Jinping, Chinese president

Chinese President Xi Jinping (File photo: PTI)

A bill aimed at countering China's stance that it has controlled Tibet since “ancient times” and promoting dialogue between Beijing and exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has been passed by US lawmakers and placed on President Joe Biden's desk.

The House of Representatives, the lower house of the US Congress, voted 391-26 on Wednesday to approve the Act to Promote a Resolution of the Tibet-China Dispute, which had been passed by the Senate, which is the chamber high, last month.

A press release posted on the website of Jeff Merkley, the Democratic senator from the US state of Oregon who introduced the bill in the Senate, said the US Congress had passed the “bipartisan bill aimed at to strengthen American support for Tibet and to promote dialogue between the countries.” People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Dalai Lama towards a peaceful resolution of the long-standing dispute between Tibet and China.

The statement added: “The Act to Promote a Resolution of the Tibet-China Dispute now falls to President Biden, who is expected to sign it. »

What does the bill aim to do?

Essentially, the bill aims to toughen Washington's stance on Tibet and pressure Beijing to resume negotiations with the Dalai Lama.

No formal dialogue between Chinese and Tibetan authorities has taken place since 2010.

The bill aims to allocate funds to combat what it describes as “misinformation” originating from China about Tibet's history, people and institutions.

The bill also refutes Beijing's claim that Tibet has been part of China since ancient times. And, going even further, it would make it official U.S. policy that the dispute over the status of Tibet is unresolved.

It would also make Tibet refer not only to the Tibet Autonomous Region, as defined by Beijing, but also to Tibetan areas in China's Qinghai, Gansu, Yunnan and Sichuan provinces.

The law aims to strengthen U.S. support for Tibet. This would allow U.S. State Department officials to “actively and directly counter Chinese government disinformation about Tibet, rejecting false claims that Tibet has been part of China since ‘ancient times,’” the statement said. published on the Merkley website.

The law will also encourage negotiations “without preconditions” between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama or his representatives or the democratically elected leaders of the Tibetan community.

Finally, it will also give the US State Department the responsibility to “coordinate with other governments in multilateral efforts” toward the goal of a “negotiated agreement on Tibet.”

The CCP's status quo in Tibet is 'unacceptable'

“The people of Tibet deserve to be responsible for their own future, and today Congress voted to stand with the Tibetans in their fight for freedom and self-determination,” said Merkley, co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, according to the release.

Merkley added that the law would help “counter the Chinese government's misinformation about Tibet” and push for “negotiations between the PRC and Tibet to end this long-standing dispute.”

“I look forward to President Biden quickly signing this bill…the people of Tibet cannot wait any longer,” Merkley said.

“Our bipartisan bill will refresh U.S. policy toward Tibet and encourage negotiations that advance the freedom of the Tibetan people and a peaceful resolution to the conflict between the CCP and the Dalai Lama,” said the Republican senator from Indiana, Todd Young.

Young added that Congress's passage of the bill “once again demonstrates America's determination that the CCP's status quo, both in Tibet and elsewhere, is not acceptable.”

“Let the overwhelming passage of our bipartisan bill be a clear message to the Tibetan people: America stands with you on the side of human dignity, and we support you in your quest to secure the fundamental rights to which you have right under international laws,” said Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, who is also a member of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

“The PRC has systematically denied Tibetans the right to self-determination and continues to deliberately erase Tibetan religion, culture and language. The continued oppression of the Tibetan people is a grave tragedy, and our bill provides additional tools that strengthen both America and the world. international community to defend justice and peace,” McGovern added.

What is China's position on Tibet?

China says Tibet has been under central Chinese rule for more than 700 years.

However, Tibetan activists have argued that the region was autonomous for long periods.

Although the Dalai Lama did not recognize Beijing's historic claims to Tibet, he also said he did not seek political independence for the region.

In April, China's Foreign Ministry said any talks with the Dalai Lama would not address the issue of Tibetan autonomy. Such discussions would only concern his “personal future” or that of his close collaborators.

Currently, the US State Department considers the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas to be part of China.

However, Washington has not explicitly taken the position that Beijing's occupation of Tibet in the 1950s was consistent with international law.

First publication: June 13, 2024 | 9:00 p.m. EAST




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