Trump signs Tibet policy to preempt Chinese move on Dalai Lama’s succession

Donald Trump. File.   | Photo Credit: AP

U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law a Bill which calls for establishing a U.S. consulate in Tibet and building an international coalition to ensure that the next Dalai Lama is appointed solely by the Tibetan Buddhist community without China’s interference.

The Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 modifies and re-authorises various programmes and provisions related to Tibet.

The U.S. Senate last week unanimously passed the Bill despite China’s protest.

It authorises assistance to non-governmental organisations in support of Tibetan communities in Tibet; and places restrictions on new Chinese consulates in the United States until a U.S. consulate has been established in Lhasa, Tibet.

The law now authorises the Office of the U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues and expands the office’s duties to include additional tasks, such as pursuing international coalitions to ensure that the next Dalai Lama is appointed solely by the Tibetan Buddhist faith community.

It also directs the Secretary of State not to open a new Chinese consulate in the U.S. unless China allows the opening of an American consulate in Lhasa.

“It is the policy of the U.S. to take all appropriate measures to hold accountable senior officials of the Chinese government or the Chinese Communist Party who directly interfere with the identification and installation of the future 15th Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism, the successor to the 14th Dalai Lama.”

Beijing views the 14th Dalai Lama as a “separatist” working to split Tibet from China. Some of the prominent measures approved by the U.S. Congress include imposing sanctions on Chinese officials, including travel restrictions. Noting that the 14th Dalai Lama advocates the Middle Way Approach, which seeks genuine autonomy for the six million Tibetans in Tibet, the new law says the Dalai Lama oversaw a process of democratisation within the Tibetan polity and devolved his political responsibilities to the 23 elected representatives of the Tibetan people in exile in 2011.

The Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 approves $1 million per annum for the Special U.S. Coordinator on Tibet, $675,000 towards scholarship provisions, $575,000 for scholar exchange initiatives, $8 million for the Tibetan Autonomous Regio and Communities in China, $6 million for Tibetans living in India, $3 million for Tibetan governance.

Expressing concern over the exploitation of natural resources of Tibet, water in particular, the new law seeks to pursue collaborative efforts with Chinese and international scientific institutions, to monitor the environment on the Tibetan plateau, including glacial retreat, temperature rise, and carbon levels, to promote a greater understanding of the effects on permafrost, river flows, grasslands and the monsoon cycle.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 4:40:51 AM |

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