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Judiciary Committee

House Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act

July 25, 2018

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act took a big step forward today when the House Judiciary Committee approved the bill unanimously. The next step is for the act to move to the floor of the House of Representatives.

One by one, committee members spoke up at this morning’s hearing in support of the bipartisan legislation, which seeks to ensure that Americans are given the same access to Tibet that Chinese citizens have to the United States.

“Moving this bill is the right thing to do,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the committee. “It is time that Congress take a stand with regard to access by foreign nationals to the Tibetan regions.”

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ICT joins Dalai Lama’s birthday celebrations on Capitol Hill as calls grow for his right to return to Tibet

July 16, 2018

The Dalai Lama turned 83 this month, and last week, the International Campaign for Tibet joined the celebration of his birthday with leaders from the US Congress and the Tibetan government-in-exile.

On July 11, the Office of Tibet—which represents the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration in North America—hosted a reception for the Dalai Lama’s birthday that featured remarks from Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), and Claudia Tenney (R-NY).

The bipartisan group of congresspeople praised the Dalai Lama’s message of compassion and voiced support for his peaceful struggle on behalf of the Tibetan people, who are facing increasing repression at the hands of the Chinese government.

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US Congress Confirms Support For Funding For Tibet programs in 2018 Budget

March 23, 2018

The United States Congress continued its steady support for Tibet through the provision of approximately $20 million for Tibet programs in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (H.R. 1625). The House of Representative approved the legislation on March 22, 2018 with a vote of 256 to 167, and the Senate passed it early on March 23 by a vote of 65-32. The Bill will now need to be signed by President Donald Trump.

“Through this legislation the United States Congress once again confirms its decades-long support for Tibetans’ efforts to preserve their culture and identity,” said Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet. He added, “While these programs are but a minuscule part of the overall foreign aid budget, this investment yields big dividends for Tibetans and their efforts to preserve their culture and identity.”

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125 Participants from 21 states in the 10th Annual Tibet Lobby Day in Washington, DC

March 8, 2018

Tibet Lobby Day 2018 has concluded, following two days of meetings with the offices of Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill. This year more than 120 participants came from 21 states, including from faraway places such as California and Oregon, to lobby their elected representatives in Washington DC to stand up for Tibet. Participants met with Members of Congress, legislative directors, and foreign policy staffers in meetings arranged by the International Campaign for Tibet and presented them with legislative and appropriation requests to benefit Tibet.

The foremost ask this year was for the passage of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, a bipartisan bill designed to end China’s restrictive access policies, which prevent American journalists, diplomats, citizens (including Tibetan-Americans), and others from visiting Tibet. They also urged Congress to continue funding Tibet programs, advocate for the release of Tibetan political prisoners, and to hold Chinese leaders accountable for their human rights violations in Tibet. Finally, participants asked their Members of Congress to sign a bill calling on the Trump Administration to fully implement the US Tibetan Policy Act and nominate a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, and thanked those who had already done so.

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Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters gather in Washington, D.C. for Tibet Lobby Day

February 28, 2018

Over one hundred Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters from all over the United States are gathering in Washington, D.C., to urge their elected representatives in the government to increase their support for Tibet and the Tibetan people. The 10th annual Tibet Lobby Day will take place from March 4 to 6, 2018.

They will ask Members of Congress to pass legislation that support the aspirations of the Tibetan people, most notably the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2017. They will also urge Congress to continue funding Tibet programs, advocate for the release of Tibetan political prisoners, promote access to Tibetan areas for journalists, citizens, and US officials, and to hold Chinese leaders accountable for their human rights violations in Tibet.

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US Members of Congress Introduce Resolutions to Commemorate Tibet’s 1959 Uprising as “Tibetan Rights Day”

February 15, 2018

Today, Senators Leahy (D), Feinstein (D), and Cruz (R) and Representatives McGovern (D) and Hultgren (R), introduced companion resolutions to commemorate the 1959 Tibetan Uprising as “Tibetan Rights Day” on March 10, and to support the human rights and religious freedom of the Tibetan people in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The resolutions recall that on March 10, 1959 the people of Lhasa rose to protect the residence of the Dalai Lama, fearing for his life, and that an estimated 87,000 were later killed during the ensuing violent crackdown orchestrated by the Chinese Communist Party. Furthermore, the resolutions recalls that March 10, 2018 is also the tenth anniversary of the 2008 protests that started in Lhasa and then spread across the Tibetan plateau, which were brutally suppressed by Chinese authorities. At least 152 Tibetans have self-immolated inside the PRC in protest against Chinese rule since then.

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Testimony of Dhondup Wangchen at the Hearing by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China on “Tibet From All Angles: Protecting Human Rights, Defending Strategic Access, and Challenging China’s Export of Censorship Globally”

February 14, 2018

Honorable Senator Rubio and Representative Smith,

I am very grateful for this opportunity to testify before the Congressional Executive Commission on China on my experiences in Tibet under the Chinese authorities.

My name is Dhondup Wangchen. I was born on October 17, 1974 to a family of Tibetan farmers in Bayen which is in the province we call Amdo. In today’s administrative divisions, Bayen is in Tsoshar prefecture, Qinghai province, People’s Republic of China.

I arrived in USA on December 25, 2017 and it was the first time in many years that I felt safety and freedom. The reunion with my family in San Francisco was a wonderful moment that I had looked forward to in the past years, with a mixture of anxious joy and the hesitation a man feels who was hindered to be the husband he ought to be for his loving wife; a man who was not given the chance to stand by with fatherly advice to his children in a world full of challenges, and a man denied being the son needed for his aging parents, tormented by the thought that they wouldn’t see each other again in their lifetime.

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Tibet raised in US House of Representatives debate on China’s Strategy to Accrue Global Power

January 19, 2018

The US House of Representatives saw a discussion on the night of January 18, 2018 under the Special Order session that highlighted the situation in Tibet and the need to pass pending legislations relating to it as a way to China’s onslaught on American society.

The discussion was at the initiative of Representative Ted Yoho, Chairman of the Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee on House Foreign Affairs Committee. The subcommittee had organized a hearing on Tibet on December 6, 2017.

While Members of Congress wanted good relations with China the discussion saw them expressing concern at China’s increasing attempt to subvert American society. As Mr. Yoho said in his remarks, “…China has grown to become a revisionist power—not rising within the current order, but seeking to change, subvert, or coerce it to suit China’s end—not playing by the rules, but rewriting the rules to suit the needs of China.”

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Bipartisan resolution supporting the Dalai Lama and Tibet introduced in the US Senate

November 17, 2017

A bipartisan Concurrent Resolution (S. Con. Res. 30) was introduced to the Senate on November 16, 2017 asking the Trump Administration to make Tibet an important factor in US-China relations. The Resolution calls on the Trump Administration to fully implement the US Tibetan Policy Act, to promote access of US citizens to Tibet, and to encourage China “to enter into a dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives leading to a negotiated agreement with respect to Tibet.” It complements a similar resolution introduced in the House of Representatives (H. Con. Res. 89) on November 1, 2017.

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ICT Statement on 10th Anniversary of Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama

October 17, 2017

October 17, 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the historic bestowal of the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor of the United States, to the Dalai Lama. The award ceremony was participated by then President George W. Bush, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House and Senate leadership, signifying the broad-based support for the Dalai Lama in the United States. The International Campaign for Tibet had the privilege to be actively involved in this Congressional initiative.

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Congressional committee acts to reinstate funding for Tibet programs for FY 2018

July 20, 2017

A key Congressional committee has acted to reinstate funding for a number of programs that support Tibetan communities in Tibet and Tibetan refugees in South Asia in the 2018 Fiscal Year State Department budget.

On July 19, 2017, the House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.

In the President’s proposed budget for FY2018, the Tibetan programs were generally reduced and in one case, eliminated.

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ICT Chairman Richard Gere visits Washington, D.C. to engage Members of Congress on Tibet; Attends observation of the Dalai Lama’s birthday on Capitol Hill

June 30, 2017

International Campaign for Tibet Board Chairman Richard Gere came down to Washington, D.C. for the third time this year to continue and deepen ICT’s engagement with Members of Congress on initiatives for Tibet, as well as to participate in a celebration of the Dalai Lama’s 82nd birthday on Capitol Hill.

During this visit, which took place on June 27 and 28, 2017, Gere took the opportunity to brief the Members on the situation in Tibet, on the vision and efforts of the Dalai Lama to solve the Tibetan issue, and on the importance of continued United States support to the Tibetan people.

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Ros-Lehtinen

Representatives Jim McGovern and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Draw Attention to Tibet in U.S. House of Representatives

May 2, 2017

Representatives Jim McGovern (Democrat from Massachusetts) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican from Florida) spoke today in the House of Representatives to draw attention to the situation inside Tibet. Participating in the General Speeches period as the House began its session, they displayed a large portrait of the Dalai Lama, spoke about their support for the aspirations of the Tibetan people, the respect they have for the Dalai Lama, and about their work in the United States proactively promoting initiatives on Tibet.

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Senators Cardin and Rubio call on Secretary Tillerson to raise Tibet during Xi Jinping’s visit

April 5, 2017

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on democracy, human rights, and global women’s issues, have written to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in connection with the upcoming meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jingping, calling on the US side, among others, to “urge China to do more to improve the cultural and spiritual plight of Tibetans, not just their economic status.”

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On Eve of Chinese President’s US visit, Congressional Bicameral Bill Calls for Americans to Receive the Same Access to Tibet that Chinese Citizens Enjoy in the United States

McGovern, Hultgren, Rubio, Baldwin introduce Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act in both House and Senate of the US Congress to lift restrictions on US citizens’ access to Tibet

April 4, 2017

On the eve of the first summit between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, a bipartisan legislation to promote access by Americans to Tibetan areas, which is routinely denied by Chinese authorities, has been introduced by Senator Rubio (R-FL) and Baldwin (D-WI) in the Senate and by Congressmen McGovern (D-MI) and Hultgren (R-WI) in the House of Representatives of the United States Congress on April 4, 2017.

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Jim McGovern

Members of Congress Urge President Obama to formulate new, creative strategies to encourage meaningful dialogue and protect Tibetan rights

August 19, 2016

Seventy-two Members of Congress of the United States have urged President Barack Obama to formulate “new, creative strategies to encourage meaningful dialogue, protect Tibetan rights, and preserve their unique cultural, religious and linguistic identity” during the remaining months of his term in office.

This appeal was contained in a letter that was initiated by Congressman Jim McGovern. The letter also urges the Administration to take proactive steps to support the Dalai Lama and Tibet. Following is the press statement and text of the letter, along with the names of the Members of Congress who signed it.

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Representative Jim McGovern

Rep. Jim McGovern Led a Special Order on Tibet in the U.S. House of Representatives to Coincide with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Visit to Washington

June 23, 2016

On the evening of June 13, 2016, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) led a Special Order on Tibet on the floor of the House of Representatives, which was scheduled to coincide with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s arrival in Washington, D.C. A Special Order is a procedure that enables a Member of the House to speak on any topic they wish, for a specified period of time, after all legislative business is concluded for the day.

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US Senate Applauds Dalai Lama’s promotion of nonviolence, interfaith dialogue, democracy

The United States Senate, on July 8, 2015, unanimously passed a resolution https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-resolution/200 wishing His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama a happy 80th birthday on July 6, 2015, and recognizing the outstanding contributions His Holiness has made to the promotion of nonviolence, human rights, interfaith dialogue, environmental awareness, and democracy. The bipartisan resolution, S. Res […]

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