Join our Mailing List

"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Lhasa is No 1 priority for new US consulates in China: Congress approves $5 million to build

June 29, 2008

ICT Press Release
June 27, 2008

The US Congress has approved legislation that includes a provision
for $5 million to construct a US consulate in Lhasa, Tibet. The
provision additionally directs the State Department, under the
principle of reciprocity, to agree to the construction of a Chinese
consular post anywhere in the United States only when the Chinese
government agrees to the U.S. consulate in Lhasa. The Lhasa consulate
provision is included in the Emergency Supplemental bill (H.R. 2642)
approved by the House on June 19 and by the Senate on June 26.

"A US consulate will protect the interests and safety of Americans
traveling in and around Lhasa and improve the quantity and quality of
information available to U.S. government officials from inside
Tibet," said Todd Stein, ICT Director of Government Relations.

"A US consulate in Lhasa is key to opening a locked-down Tibet. It
will protect the interests and safety of Americans traveling in Lhasa
and improve the quantity and quality of information available from
inside Tibet," said Todd Stein, ICT Director of Government Relations.

Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) authored the Lhasa consulate provision in
the Emergency Supplemental bill. It was cosponsored by Senator Dianne
Feinstein (D-CA) and strongly supported by Representative Mark Kirk
(R-IL) in the House. Establishment of a diplomatic presence in Lhasa
was urged by Congress in the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002.

Senior State Department officials have confirmed that Lhasa is now
their number one priority on a list of locations in China that the US
government has been looking at for future consulates. The principle
of reciprocity as applied in this case means that for every consular
post China establishes in the United States, the United States is
able to establish one in China. The Chinese and US governments have
been in discussion about the possibility of establishing additional
consulates in several locations in the United States and China.

"The reciprocity language in the legislations gives the US government
the necessary leverage with the Chinese and increases the likelihood
of actually realizing this important foreign policy initiative,"
Stein concluded.

The Chinese authorities said this week that the Tibet Autonomous
Region has re-opened to foreign tour groups on Wednesday after a
stoppage of more than three months due to the March protests and riot
in the regional capital of Lhasa, a local official said (Xinhua, June
24). The flow of tour groups is likely to be limited and highly
managed, and there is no indication yet of when individual tourists
will be permitted entry.

This report can be found online at
http://savetibet.org/news/newsitem.php?id=1330

Press contact:
Kate Saunders
Communications Director, ICT
Tel: +44 7947 138612
email: press@savetibet.org
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
Developed by plank