Donald Trump signed the act on Sunday as part of the massive USD 2.3 trillion package for the year-end bill to provide long-delayed coronavirus relief and fund the federal government

US President Donald Trump has signed a bill that calls for establishing a US consulate in Tibet. He is also building an international coalition to ensure that the next Dalai Lama is appointed by the Tibetan Buddhist community only and without any interference from China.

The Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 (TPSA) re-authorises and modifies different provisions and programmes related to Tibet. The US president signed the act on Sunday as a part of the massive USD 2.3 trillion packages for the year-end bill to fund the federal government and provide the long-delayed COVID-19 relief.

Despite China’s protests, the US Senate last week unanimously passed the bill, which authorises assistance to non-governmental organisations in support of Tibetan communities in Tibet. Along with this, the Act also places restrictions on new Chinese consulates in the United States until a US consulate has been established in Lhasa, Tibet.

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Welcoming the historic legislation on Sunday, President of the Central Tibetan Association (CTA) Dr Lobsang Sangay said, “This legislation sends a powerful message of hope and justice to the Tibetans inside Tibet and bolsters US support for the protection of Tibetan people’s religious freedom, human rights, environmental rights and exile Tibetan democracy like never before.”

Built on the historic Tibet Policy Act of 2002, the TPSA makes it official United States policy that decisions regarding the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama are exclusively within the authority of the current Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist leaders and the Tibetan people. Any interference by Chinese government officials will be met with serious sanctions and be deemed inadmissible into the United States.

Now, the US can take all appropriate measures to hold senior officials of the Chinese Government or the Chinese Communist Party accountable who would interfere with the identification of the future 15th Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism. Meanwhile, Beijing views the 14th Dalai Lama as a “separatist” who is working to split Tibet from China.

The new law noted that the current Dalai Lama is the one who advocates the Middle Way Approach, seeking genuine autonomy for the six million Tibetans in Tibet. It added that the Dalai Lama had overseen a process of democratisation within the Tibetan polity and had deputed his political responsibilities to the elected 23 representatives of the Tibetan people in exile in 2011.

The act also approves USD 1 million (Rs 7,34,61,200) per annum for the Special US Coordinator on Tibet. Along with it USD 675,000 (Rs 4,95,86,310) for scholarship provisions, USD 575,000 (Rs 4,22,40,190) for scholar exchange initiatives, USD eight million (Rs 58,76,89,600) for the Tibetan Autonomous Region and Communities in China, USD six million (Rs 44,10,22,200) for Tibetans living in India and USD three million (Rs 22,05,11,100) for Tibetan governance.

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