INTERNATIONAL

U.S. House warns China not to meddle in Dalai Lama succession

The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama  

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to authorise sanctions against Chinese officials who interfere in the process of determining the Dalai Lama’s successor, raising pressure as the Tibetan spiritual leader approaches 85.

Under the legislation, Washington would freeze any U.S. assets and ban travel to the United States of Chinese officials found to be involved in “identifying or installing” a government-approved Dalai Lama.

A total of 392 lawmakers voted for the Bill with 22, all of them Republicans plus one conservative independent, opposed.

The Act still needs approval from the Senate, where Republican Marco Rubio has promised to lead efforts, before heading to President Donald Trump for his signature.

The law would also prohibit China from opening any further consulates in the U.S. until Washington can open a mission in Lhasa, the Himalayan territory’s tightly restricted capital.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a longtime advocate for Tibet, said that the Bill aims to encourage Beijing to resume dialogue with envoys of the Dalai Lama that broke off a decade ago.

Beijing slammed the U.S. on Wednesday over the Bill, saying it “grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs”.

The Foreign Ministry urged the U.S. to “do more to benefit mutual trust and cooperation between China and the U.S. rather than the contrary”.

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