Tibetan Policy Act

TIBET POLICY ACT (excerpt)
H.R.1646
Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003
P.L. 107-228
Subtitle B–Tibet Policy

SEC. 611. SHORT TITLE.

This subtitle may be cited as ‘Tibetan Policy Act of 2002′.

SEC. 612. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE.

The purpose of this subtitle is to support the aspirations of the Tibetan people to safeguard their distinct identity.

SEC. 613. TIBET NEGOTIATIONS.

(a) POLICY-

    (1) IN GENERAL- The President and the Secretary should encourage the Government of the People’s Republic of China to enter into a dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives leading to a negotiated agreement on Tibet.

    (2) COMPLIANCE- After such an agreement is reached, the President and the Secretary should work to ensure compliance with the agreement.

(b) PERIODIC REPORTS- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 12 months thereafter, the President shall transmit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on–

    (1) the steps taken by the President and the Secretary in accordance with subsection (a)(1); and

    (2) the status of any discussions between the People’s Republic of China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives.

SEC. 614. REPORTING ON TIBET.

Whenever a report is transmitted to Congress under section 116 or 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151m, 2304) or under section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6412(b)), Tibet shall be included in such report as a separate section.

SEC. 615. CONGRESSIONAL-EXECUTIVE COMMISSION ON THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA.

Section 302(h) of the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-286), relating to the Congressional-Executive Commission on the People’s Republic of China, is amended–

(1) by striking `shall include specific information’ and inserting the following: `shall include–

    (1) specific information’;

    (2) by striking the period at the end and inserting `; and’; and

    (3) by adding at the end the following:

(2) a description of the status of negotiations between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives, and measures taken to safeguard Tibet’s distinct historical, religious, cultural, and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights.’.

SEC. 616. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN TIBET.

(a) DECLARATIONS OF POLICY- It is the policy of the United States to support economic development, cultural preservation, health care, and education and environmental sustainability for Tibetans inside Tibet. In support of this policy, the United States shall use its voice and vote to support projects designed in accordance with the principles contained in subsection (d) that are designed to raise the standard of living for the Tibetan people and assist Tibetans to become self-sufficient.

(b) INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS- The Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States executive director of each international financial institution to use the voice and vote of the United States to support projects in Tibet, if the projects are designed in accordance with the principles contained in subsection (d).

(c) EXPORT-IMPORT BANK AND TDA- The Export-Import Bank of the United States and the Trade and Development Agency should support projects proposed to be funded or otherwise supported by such entities in Tibet, if the projects are designed in accordance with the principles contained in subsection (d).

(d) TIBET PROJECT PRINCIPLES- Projects in Tibet supported by international financial institutions, other international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and the United States entities referred to in subsection (c), should–

    (1) be implemented only after conducting a thorough assessment of the needs of the Tibetan people through field visits and interviews;

    (2) be preceded by cultural and environmental impact assessments;

    (3) foster self-sufficiency and self-reliance of Tibetans;

    (4) promote accountability of the development agencies to the Tibetan people and active participation of Tibetans in all project stages;

    (5) respect Tibetan culture, traditions, and the Tibetan knowledge and wisdom about their landscape and survival techniques;

    (6) be subject to on-site monitoring by the development agencies to ensure that the intended target group benefits;

    (7) be implemented by development agencies prepared to use Tibetan as the working language of the projects;

    (8) neither provide incentive for, nor facilitate the migration and settlement of, non-Tibetans into Tibet; and

    (9) neither provide incentive for, nor facilitate the transfer of ownership of, Tibetan land or natural resources to non-Tibetans.

SEC. 617. RELEASE OF PRISONERS AND ACCESS TO PRISONS.

The President and the Secretary, in meetings with representatives of the Government of the People’s Republic of China, should–

(1) request the immediate and unconditional release of all those held prisoner for expressing their political or religious views in Tibet;

(2) seek access for international humanitarian organizations to prisoners in Tibet to ensure that prisoners are not being mistreated and are receiving necessary medical care; and

(3) seek the immediate medical parole of Tibetan prisoners known to be in serious ill health.

SEC. 618. ESTABLISHMENT OF A UNITED STATES BRANCH OFFICE IN LHASA, TIBET.

The Secretary should make best efforts to establish an office in Lhasa, Tibet, to monitor political, economic, and cultural developments in Tibet.

SEC. 619. REQUIREMENT FOR TIBETAN LANGUAGE TRAINING.

The Secretary shall ensure that Tibetan language training is available to Foreign Service officers, and that every effort is made to ensure that a Tibetan-speaking Foreign Service officer is assigned to a United States post in the People’s Republic of China responsible for monitoring developments in Tibet.

SEC. 620. RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN TIBET.

(a) HIGH-LEVEL CONTACTS- Pursuant to section 105 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6414), the United States Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China should–

    (1) meet with the 11th Panchen Lama, who was taken from his home on May 17, 1995, and otherwise ascertain information concerning his whereabouts and well-being; and

    (2) request that the Government of the People’s Republic of China release the 11th Panchen Lama and allow him to pursue his religious studies without interference and according to tradition.

(b) PROMOTION OF INCREASED ADVOCACY- Pursuant to section 108(a) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6417(a)), it is the sense of Congress that representatives of the United States Government in exchanges with officials of the Government of the People’s Republic of China should call for and otherwise promote the cessation of all interference by the Government of the People’s Republic of China or the Communist Party in the religious affairs of the Tibetan people.

SEC. 621. UNITED STATES SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR TIBETAN ISSUES.

(a) UNITED STATES SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR TIBETAN ISSUES- There shall be within the Department a United States Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues (in this section referred to as the `Special Coordinator’).

(b) CONSULTATION- The Secretary shall consult with the chairmen and ranking minority members of the appropriate congressional committees prior to the designation of the Special Coordinator.

(c) CENTRAL OBJECTIVE- The central objective of the Special Coordinator is to promote substantive dialogue between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives.

(d) DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES- The Special Coordinator shall–

    (1) coordinate United States Government policies, programs, and projects concerning Tibet;

    (2) vigorously promote the policy of seeking to protect the distinct religious, cultural, linguistic, and national identity of Tibet, and pressing for improved respect for human rights;

    (3) maintain close contact with religious, cultural, and political leaders of the Tibetan people, including regular travel to Tibetan areas of the People’s Republic of China, and to Tibetan refugee settlements in India and Nepal;

    (4) consult with Congress on policies relevant to Tibet and the future and welfare of the Tibetan people;

    (5) make efforts to establish contacts in the foreign ministries of other countries to pursue a negotiated solution for Tibet; and

    (6) take all appropriate steps to ensure adequate resources, staff, and bureaucratic support to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the Special Coordinator



The Tibetan Policy Act (TPA), a major piece of Tibet legislation, was signed into law by President George W. Bush on September 30, 2002, as part of H.R. 1646, the Foreign Relations Authorizations Act. Passage of the TPA was made possible by strong Congressional interest and the active support of Tibet advocates across the United States who contacted their congressional representatives.

The purpose of the Tibetan Policy Act is to help the Tibetans preserve their identity as a people in exile and in Tibet.

It is the most comprehensive Tibet legislation yet to be passed by the United States Congress. Combining practical initiatives with a firm expression of support for the Tibetan people, it is both programmatic and pragmatic.

Since the Chinese occupation of Tibet began more than fifty years ago, the Tibetan people have suffered widespread discrimination, religious persecution and the threat of imprisonment and torture.

Their national identity, culture and linguistic heritage have been critically endangered by Chinese government policies that encourage assimilation and Chinese resettlement.

While the Dalai Lama has said that China should neither be bullied nor isolated, he has also made it clear that its conduct in Tibet should not be ignored.

The Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 follows this approach – speaking honestly and fairly while avoiding rhetoric that would unnecessarily provoke China – in its efforts to foster a negotiated solution to the issue of Tibet.

You can find the text of the Tibetan Policy act here as part of H.R. 1646. You can also see the Senate Cosponsors of the Tibetan Policy Act (S. 852) and the House Cosponsors of the Tibetan Policy Act (H.R. 1779).

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