Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and Chair of the US Congressional Executive Commission on China, along with Senators Todd Young (R-IN), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduce bipartisan legislation on December 20 aimed at promoting a resolution to the ongoing Tibet-China conflict. The legislation reaffirms Tibetans’ right to self-determination as a people and clarifies that current Chinese government refusal to engage in meaningful negotiations over the unresolved conflict fails to meet U.S. government expectations.
This bill is the Senate companion bill to H.R. 8365, introduced in the House by Jim McGovern (D-MA-02) and Michael McCaul (R-TX-10) on July 13, 2022.
“America’s values supporting freedom and self-determination for all people must be at the center of all of our actions and relationships around the world—especially as the Chinese government pushes an alternative vision,” said Senator Merkley. “This legislation makes clear that the United States views the Tibet-China conflict as unresolved and that the people of Tibet deserve a say in how they are governed. It sends a clear message to the People’s Republic of China: we expect meaningful negotiations over Tibet’s status and do not view current Chinese government actions as meeting those expectations.”
The Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Conflict Act will:
- Make it official U.S. policy that the conflict between Tibet and China is unresolved and that Tibet’s legal status remains to be determined under international law.
Recognize that Tibetans have a right to self-determination—and that China’s policies preclude them from exercising that right.
- Fault China for failing to meet expectations of participating in dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives.
- Reject as “historically false” China’s claim that Tibet has been part of China since ancient times.
- Empower the Office of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues to counter Communist Party disinformation about the history of Tibet, the Tibetan people, and Tibetan institutions, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“We have always felt immense gratitude to the United States for its leadership in advancing a peaceful resolution to the Sino-Tibetan conflict emanating from China’s illegal occupation of Tibet and continued implementation of its repressive policies against the Tibetans inside Tibet. With this bill, the US not only raises its commitment to promoting the Tibet cause to an even greater level, but it also serves as a beacon of hope for those striving for peace, democracy and freedom through dialogue and negotiation,” said Penpa Tsering, President of the Central Tibetan Administration.