Update: The Tibetan Policy and Support Law was signed into law by the President on December 27, 2020. It is now U.S. law. Tibet supporters also visited the offices of their lawmakers and called them to demand their support for the bill as part of the virtual ICT lobby day in Tibet in March 2020 and the mini-lobbying day last fall. The Tibetan Policy and Support Act would make it official U.S. policy that the succession of Tibetan Buddhist leaders, including the succession of the Dalai Lama, be left solely to Tibetan Buddhists, without interference from the Chinese government. Chinese officials who interfere in the selection process for Tibetan Buddhist leaders would face sanctions under the comprehensive Magnitsky Act, including denial of entry to the United States. The bill also calls for the establishment of a new U.S. consulate in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region.  “The People`s Republic of China has already completed water transfer programs that divert billions of cubic meters of water each year and plans to divert more water from the Tibetan plateau into China,” the draft law says.
According to a study published this year, China used its dams on the Mekong River, which originated in Tibet, to prevent water flow downstream in 2019, contributing to a devastating drought in Southeast Asia. The construction of Chinese dams is also forcing thousands of Tibetans to move against their will. The law also strengthens the landmark 2002 Tibetan Policy Law, addresses the issue of water security and environmental degradation in Tibet, provides humanitarian aid to Tibetans in Tibet and in exile, and urges China to negotiate with the Dalai Lama and Tibetan leaders without preconditions. Jim McGovern, chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the Congressional Executive Committee on China, commented: “We criticize the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), not the Chinese people, who also suffer from China`s oppression. We stand in solidarity with the Tibetan people and revere His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We are all together and expect the President to sign the Tibet Policy and Support Act soon.  “The 2020 TAHT is a tribute to the great legacy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the courage and solidarity of six million Tibetans in Tibet,” said Lobsang Sangay, the Sikyong (chairman) of the Tibetan government-in-exile, officially known as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), based in Dharamshala, Tibet. “We`ve been pushing for this over the last couple of years. This is a victory for the Tibetan struggle for freedom.
The bill passed by the US Congress also recognised the legitimacy of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile, elected by the exile community as well as CTA. The legislation also proposes a “regional framework for water security” and greater involvement of the Community in the dialogue with China on monitoring the region`s environment. The bill stresses the need for a U.S. diplomatic presence in Tibet and states that the secretary of state “does not authorize the establishment of an additional consulate of the People`s Republic of China in the United States until a U.S. consulate is established in Lhasa, Tibet.” Matteo Mecacci and Bhuchung Tsering of ICTs discuss the adoption of TPSA and why it is important. The Dalai Lama said that if he reincarnated, he would do so in a free country like India, where he has lived in exile since China conquered Tibet in the 1950s. He also said that no one will respect a future Dalai Lama appointed by the Chinese government. The Tibet Policy and Support Act is now expected to be signed into law by President Trump. The draft law states that the Central Tibetan Administration represents and reflects the aspirations of the Tibetan people worldwide. The TPSA aims to introduce important provisions to protect the environment and water resources on the Tibetan plateau. It recognizes the importance of traditional administration of Tibetan grasslands in mitigating the negative effects of climate change in the region, as opposed to the forced relocation of grassland nomads by the Chinese government.
It also calls for greater international cooperation in environmental monitoring on the Tibetan plateau. The TPSA represents a significant improvement in U.S. policy toward Tibet and poses a direct challenge to China`s continued oppression of the Tibetan people. Relations between China and the United States have deteriorated to their worst level in decades on a number of issues, including trade, Taiwan, human rights, Hong Kong, the South China Sea and the coronavirus. FOR THE DALAI LAMA: Watch ICT President Matteo Mecacci hand over the text of the law to the Dalai Lama in India “With the passage of the TPSA, the Congress has not only increased its overall support for Tibet, but has also set an example on the world stage by declaring that the international community will not accept China`s interference in the succession of the Dalai Lama and will reject human rights violations committed by the China in Tibet. as long as they continue,” ICT said in a statement.