The bipartisan legislation marks a new era in US-China relations and US support for Tibetans
Detention Center Notorious for Torture Next to 5-star Global Brand Hotel
China’s response to Dalai Lama reincarnation statements shows Beijing’s insecurity and lack of legitimacy
March 20, 2019
As the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is given sole authority by the ancient traditions of his faith to select the manner of his reincarnation.
But when His Holiness made this clear in a recent interview, a spokesman for the foreign ministry of China’s atheist, authoritarian government claimed that the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation must comply with Chinese law, specifically the “Regulations on Religious Affairs” and “Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas.”
Not only do the Chinese government’s claims completely disregard centuries-old Tibetan Buddhist religious tradition; they also obviously violate the universal principle of religious freedom.
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In December 2018, the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act (RATA) became the first major legislation on Tibet signed into law in the US since the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002.
The landmark, bipartisan legislation is an important step toward holding China accountable for restricting access to Tibet. It seeks to challenge the difficulties faced by US diplomats, NGO workers, journalists reporting on human rights abuses and others when they try to enter the isolated and oppressed region. The act does so by denying entry to the US for Chinese officials who are involved in formulating the policies that prohibit American citizens from entering Tibet.
The 90-day period following the adoption of the act on December 19, 2018, during which the US State Department is required to assess Americans’ level of access to Tibet, coincides with a lockdown of Tibet this March, a month of sensitive anniversaries, when foreigners are banned from the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
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