Tag Archives | Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act
Bhuchung Tsering testifying

Make Tibet part of Indo-Pacific strategy, ICT vice president tells Senate hearing

April 9, 2019

Tibet should be a key element in US strategy for the Indo-Pacific region, Bhuchung K. Tsering of the International Campaign for Tibet said at a Senate hearing today, April 9, 2019.

Tsering, ICT’s vice president, was testifying at “ARIA in Action, Part 1: Human Rights, Democracy, and the Rule of Law,” hosted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy. ARIA is the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018, which ensures funds for Tibetan programs and highlights China’s human rights abuses against the Tibetan people.

Tsering delivered a written statement to the subcommittee and submitted three texts for the record: the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China’s March 2019 position paper on access to Tibet; an op-ed by more than 30 parliamentarians across Europe last month calling for access to Tibet; and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 2011 statement explaining Tibetan Buddhism’s reincarnation system and his plans for succession.

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State Dept on RATA

State Dept. pushes back on China’s criticism of Tibet access report

April 1, 2019

A State Department spokesperson pushed back against China’s criticism of the department’s new report, which says the Chinese government “systematically” prevents Americans from entering Tibet.

“This is a well-documented report,” Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said at a press briefing on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, adding “statistics were kept.”

The report, released on March 25, documents China’s outrageous attempts to keep Americans out of Tibet in 2018, including repeatedly denying requests to visit from the US ambassador and other officials; directly threatening to expel journalists; and cruelly preventing Tibetan-Americans from seeing their homeland, which China has brutally occupied for the past 60 years.

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Tibet’s continued isolation belies Chinese claims in new white paper on Tibet’s development

March 27, 2019

China’s new white paper on Tibet, “Democratic Reform in Tibet – Sixty Years On,” is an acknowledgement that Chinese government policies have failed to win the hearts and minds of the Tibetan people.

Released on March 27, 2019 and timed to appear one day before China’s ‘Serf Emancipation Day,’ the white paper clearly is an attempt to justify China’s continued control over Tibet and to seek legitimacy.

It is telling that the white paper with China’s claim about everything being fine in Tibet was released in Beijing even as Tibet remained closed to foreigners. If the situation of the Tibetan people is as good as the white paper claims, China should have nothing to fear in providing access to Tibet to independent observers, journalists and diplomats. If Beijing sincerely believes the people of Tibet have benefited greatly under its rule, it should allow them freedom of movement and expression so that they can travel and make this case themselves.

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New State Dept. report shows US is serious about ending isolation of Tibet for Americans

March 25, 2019

A new State Department report denouncing China for “systematically” impeding Americans’ travel to Tibet shows the US government is serious about implementing the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act. The report also clearly shows that the widespread discrimination, and in some cases amounting almost to harassment, perpetrated by Beijing against Americans to enforce the complete isolation of Tibet from the outside world, won’t be accepted any longer in Washington.

The report, released March 25, 2019, documents outrageous attempts by Chinese authorities to keep Americans out of Tibet in 2018, including repeatedly denying requests to visit from the US ambassador and other US officials, directly threatening to expel journalists and cruelly preventing Tibetan-Americans from seeing their homeland, which has been in the grips of a brutal Chinese occupation for the past 60 years.

The report is the first significant outcome of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 19, 2018 and takes aim at China’s double standard of denying US diplomats, reporters and tourists entry to the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas under Chinese control even though Chinese bureaucrats, state media and ordinary citizens are free to travel throughout the US.

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Potala Tibet Brief

China bans foreigners from visiting Tibet Autonomous Region until April

February 19, 2019

Tibet tour operators have announced that the ‘annual closure’ of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to foreigners began this year on Jan. 30 and will last until April 1, with one operator recommending that foreigners plan to “begin the Tibet trip no earlier than April 1 because of the Tibet permits restriction policy recently.”

Every year since 2008, the TAR has been closed off to tourists for at least one month, coinciding with the anniversary of the March 10 Uprising in 1959 and protests in 2008.

In 2018, authorities closed the TAR to foreigners from Feb. 10 to April 1, according to tour operators.

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FCCC report cover

New China foreign correspondents report shows need for access to Tibet, ICT says

January 29, 2019

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China’s 2018 report on media freedoms in that country underscores the need for overseas journalists and citizens to have reciprocal access to Tibet, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said today.

The report, titled “Under Watch: Reporting in China’s Surveillance State,” documents the severe restrictions China places on members of the international media who attempt to cover Tibet, a historically independent country that China has occupied and ruled with an iron fist for 70 years.

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Personal thanks from ICT Chairman Richard Gere

January 22, 2019

A message from Richard Gere to ICT Supporters

As Chairman of your International Campaign for Tibet, it gives me great pleasure to share with you the good news of our most extraordinary recent success.

Against huge obstacles, including a formidable Chinese lobbying effort, a transitional Congress, and a Washington that continues to be divided, the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act was passed unanimously in the House and the Senate, and was signed into law by President Trump on December 19th, 2018.

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China’s claims about easing Tibet travel are an insufficient response to Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act

January 11, 2019

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act’s two lead sponsors in Congress have challenged the Chinese government to show through concrete action that it is opening up Tibet to the outside world.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) were reacting to reports in Chinese state media from the Tibetan capital of Lhasa that China was changing its policy regarding access to Tibet, a historically independent country that China has occupied for 70 years.

A China Daily report on Jan. 10, 2019 says, “Overseas tourists will find it easier and faster to apply for a travel permit to Tibet this year as the regional government makes efforts to boost tourism.”

In response, Sen. Rubio tweeted on Jan.11, 2019: “Seems the new Reciprocal Access to #Tibet law has gotten the attention of the Chinese Gov’t. Time will tell if they open up Tibet & stop brutally repressing the Tibetan people.”

Rubio also had a message for the Trump Administration. His tweet said, “In the meantime, @StateDept should swiftly implement the bill.”

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Chinese response to Tibet reciprocity bill signals its fear of US support for Tibet

January 7, 2019

Giant thangka painting of mass murderer Mao is assertion of ‘red culture’ in Tibet

  • As Chinese authorities reacted angrily against President Trump signing into law the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, they stepped up criticism of the Dalai Lama, republishing baseless negative articles that exposed China’s fear of the new law, which received strong bipartisan and bicameral support in the US.
  • Local authorities in an area of eastern Tibet launched a “clean-up” drive to eliminate pictures of the Tibetan religious leader and replace them with pictures of Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders.
  • In a development that would be unthinkable in Chinese cities such as Beijing or Shanghai, a massive image of Mao Zedong has been created in a Tibetan area in the form of a Tibetan thangka (a Buddhist religious painting), involving 12,000 people in its production and costing more than 4 million yuan ($580,000). It is a move apparently designed to assert Tibetan subjugation to the image of Mao, who was responsible for the invasion of Tibet in 1949-50. Its announcement coincided with statements from Xi emphasizing the Communist Party’s dominance at important meetings in Beijing in December 2018.
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White House statement

Tibet Reciprocal Access bill becomes law, marking new era in US-China relationship and US support for Tibetans

December 19, 2018

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act is now law, signifying a more vigorous interest by the United States in Tibet and the Tibetan people.

This law marks a new era of US support for Tibetans and a challenge to China’s discriminatory policies in Tibet. Following unanimous passage by both the House and the Senate, President Donald Trump signed it on December 19, 2018.

The legislation calls for American diplomats, journalists and ordinary citizens to have equal access to the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas as their Chinese counterparts enjoy in the US.

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ICT responds to Chinese ministry’s distortions on US Tibet legislation

Statement by Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet

December 15, 2018

“The Chinese Government’s reaction on Dec. 14, 2018 to the passing of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act is a gross distortion of Congress’ intention to give Americans the same rights of access to Tibet that Chinese citizens have to the US. In fact, as revealed by the Washington Post on Oct. 11, 2018, the Chinese government “interfered” in the American legislative process when it wrote to some Senators urging them not to support the bill.

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act is about Americans getting the same rights from China that the US accords to Chinese visiting this country.”

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Legislative landmark: US Congress passes Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act

December 11, 2018

In a triumph today for American citizens—including lawmakers, activists and human rights advocates concerned about the decades-long repression in Tibet—the United States Congress unanimously passed a bill that takes direct aim at the Chinese government’s unfair treatment of Americans and pushes back against its isolation of Tibet from the outside world.

The US Senate approved the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act on December 11, 2018. It now goes to the desk of President Trump, who is expected to sign the bill into law.

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018—which was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) and in the Senate by Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.)—is bipartisan legislation designed to address China’s exclusion of American journalists, diplomats and citizens from Tibet.

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State Dept. supports reciprocal access to Tibet, and Congress rejects China’s authority to choose new Dalai Lama

December 4, 2018

The US Department of State supports the goals of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act and will take steps to implement the bill if it becomes law, a department official said at a hearing today.

During the same hearing, a US Senator stated that Congress would reject a Chinese-appointed reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.

“I think it’s clear that this Congress would not recognize a Chinese imposition” of a new Dalai Lama, said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who presided today, Dec. 4, 2018, over the hearing titled “The China Challenge, Part 3: Democracy, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.”

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee approves Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act

November 28, 2018

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act passed another milestone today, Nov. 28, 2018, when it was unanimously approved by the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Act, which the House of Representatives passed in September, aims to end China’s isolation of Tibet and the Tibetan people from the outside world by calling on the Chinese government to allow American journalists, diplomats and tourists into Tibet, just as their Chinese counterparts are able to travel in the US.

“The unanimous support expressed today by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) once again reflects the widespread concern of the American people for the situation inside Tibet and for the lack of access for US citizens,” said Matteo Mecacci, president of the International Campaign for Tibet. “We wish to thank in particular the main sponsor of the bill in the Senate, Sen. Rubio, and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the SFRC, Sen. Corker and Sen. Menendez, for their steadfast and principled stance in support of reciprocity in US-China relations.”

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Sens. Sanders and Gardner cosponsor Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, signaling strong support for its approval this year

November 14, 2018

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act continues to gain steam with United States Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) cosponsoring the bill, signaling strong support for it to be approved in the Senate and signed into law before 2018 ends.

Sanders, considered a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, and Gardner, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee as well as the Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, cosponsored the bill on Nov. 13, the first day Congress was back at work following the midterm elections.

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Supporters of reciprocal access to Tibet take their message to Senate offices on special Lobby Day

United States Senate offices on Capitol Hill and across the country were buzzing on Wednesday as supporters of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act came out en masse to lobby for the bill. The special Lobby Day organized by the International Campaign for Tibet brought together ICT members, Tibetan associations and other activists who urged […]

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Special Lobby Day on October 17 will combat China’s efforts to block Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act

October 16, 2018

With the clock quickly ticking down before the United States Senate departs for the end of the legislative year, the International Campaign for Tibet will hold an urgent Lobby Day this Wednesday, October 17, 2018. The action comes in response to China’s efforts to stop the Senate from passing the bill, as documented by The Washington Post.

Participants will call on their Senators to cosponsor and support the bill through in-person meetings on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and in Senate state offices across the nation. They will also reach out to their Senators through online advocacy.

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US House passes Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act

September 25, 2018

In a major development on the status of Tibet and US-China relations, the US House of Representatives passed the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act on September 25, 2018.

The bipartisan bill promotes access to Tibet for United States officials, journalists, NGOs and citizens. Under the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, the Chinese officials who deny Americans entry to Tibet will be denied entry to the US.

“Today is a great day for human rights,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass), who introduced the legislation alongside Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.). “The United States must continue to stand squarely for human rights and speak openly against China’s human rights violations in Tibet.”

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