• Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

US Bill On Tibet Issue After India’s Renaming Challenge To China

China named in Chinese 62 places in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh which China claims to be ” Southern Tibet”. 30 of these renaming happened after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the completed Sela Tunnel which beefs up Indian military infrastructure on the disputed Himalayan Frontier.

Recently India has named more than 30 places in Tibet in its own languages based on the British era Asiatic Society’s research and the exercise will continue. This is seen as an aggressive tit-for-tat move — if China presses claims on Arunachal Pradesh, India will revive its claims on Tibet .Its just like to tackling iron with iron” on the long disputed border.

Now a Bill that aims to counter China’s position that it has controlled Tibet since ‘ancient times’ and to promote dialogue between Beijing and exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has been passed by US lawmakers and gone to President Joe Biden’s desk.

The House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the US Congress, voted 391-26 on Wednesday to approve the Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act, which had passed the Senate, which is the upper chamber, last month.

A press release on the website of Jeff Merkley, the Democratic senator from the US state of Oregon who had introduced the Bill in the Senate, said that the US Congress had passed the “bipartisan Bill to enhance US support for Tibet and promote dialogue between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Dalai Lama towards a peaceful resolution of the long-standing dispute between Tibet and China”.

The release added, “The Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act now goes to President Biden, who is expected to sign it into law.”

In essence, the Bill aims to harden Washington’s position on Tibet and pressure Beijing into resuming negotiations with the Dalai Lama.
No formal dialogue between Chinese and Tibetan authorities has happened since 2010.

The Bill aims to direct funds to counter what it describes as “disinformation” from China about Tibet’s history, people and institutions.

The Bill also refutes Beijing’s claim that Tibet has been part of China since ancient times. And, going a step further, it would make it official US policy that the dispute over Tibet’s status is unresolved.

It would also make it policy that Tibet refers not only to the Tibet autonomous region, as defined by Beijing, but also Tibetan areas of the Chinese provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, Yunnan, and Sichuan.

The Act aims to enhance US support for Tibet. It would empower US State Department officials to “actively and directly counter disinformation about Tibet from the Chinese government, rejecting false claims that Tibet has been part of China since ‘ancient times’,” said the release from Merkley’s website.

The Act will also push for negotiations “without preconditions” between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama or his representatives or the democratically elected leaders of the Tibetan community.

Finally, it will also make it the US State Department’s responsibility to “co-ordinate with other governments in multilateral efforts” towards the goal of “a negotiated agreement on Tibet”
*CCP’s status quo in Tibet ‘not acceptable’.

“The people of Tibet deserve to be in charge of their own future, and, today, Congress has voted to stand with Tibetans in their struggle for freedom and self-determination,” said Merkley, co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, according to the release.

Merkley added that the Act would help “counter misinformation from the Chinese government about Tibet” and would push for “negotiations between the PRC and Tibet to end this longstanding dispute”.

“I look forward to President Biden swiftly signing this Bill into law… the people of Tibet cannot wait any longer,” said Merkley.

“Our bipartisan Bill will refresh US policy towards Tibet and push for negotiations that advance freedom for the Tibetan people and a peaceful resolution to the CCP’s conflict with the Dalai Lama,” said Indiana’s Republican Senator Todd Young.

Young added that Congressional passage of the Bill “further demonstrates America’s resolve that the CCP’s status quo – both in Tibet and elsewhere – is not acceptable”.

“Let the overwhelming passage of our strong, bipartisan Bill be a clear message to the Tibetan people: America stands with you on the side of human dignity, and we support you in your quest to secure the basic rights to which you are entitled under international law,” said Democratic US Representative Jim McGovern, who is also a member of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

“The PRC has systematically denied Tibetans the right to self-determination and continues to deliberately erase Tibetan religion, culture, and language. The ongoing oppression of the Tibetan people is a grave tragedy, and our Bill provides further tools that empower both America and the international community to stand up for justice and peace,” added McGovern.

What is China’s position on Tibet?

China claims that Tibet has been under central Chinese rule for over 700 years.
However, Tibetan activists have argued that the region was self-governed for extended periods.

While the Dalai Lama has not recognised Beijing’s historical claim over Tibet, he has also said that he does not seek political independence for the region.

In April, the Chinese foreign ministry said that any talks with the Dalai Lama would not address the question of Tibetan autonomy. Instead, any such talks would only concern his “personal future” or that of his close associates.
At present, the US State Department considers the Tibet autonomous region and other Tibetan areas to be a part of China.

However, Washington has not explicitly taken the position that Beijing’s occupation of Tibet in the 1950s was in accordance with international law.

(Pratyusha Mukherjee is a Senior Broadcast Journalist associated with British Media with 20 years of experience in covering the east and northeast, with specialisation in Defence and Sports.In her illustrated career she has covered many major events and achieved International and Indian media awards for Journalism.)

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