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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Bipartisan Bill on reciprocal access to Tibet introduced in US House of Representatives

June 16, 2014

June 12, 2014 - U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-02) today announced that he has introduced HR 4851, The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, in the House of Representatives. 

This bipartisan bill promotes access to Tibetan areas of China for U.S. officials, journalists, and average citizens. Currently, travel restrictions imposed by the Chinese government on Tibet are more severe than for any other provincial-level entity of China.

These restrictions have negative consequences for both U.S. citizens and Tibetans. After an October 2013 bus crash with Americans on board, U.S. consular officers faced prolonged delays in obtaining access to Tibet, hindering their ability to serve Americans in distress. 

These restrictions are not reciprocal to the access that Chinese visitors generally enjoy in the U.S.  As reciprocity is the basis of diplomacy, this bill renders inadmissible to the U.S.  Chinese officials who design and implement these restrictions.

“Restricted access to Tibet leaves Tibetans in virtual isolation from the world community, limiting international exchange and the ability to objectively assess the human rights situation there,” Rep. McGovern said today.  “I am grateful to the Tibetan community in Massachusetts and to the International Campaign for Tibet for all of their hard work and activism on this important issue.”

“Our aim is not to limit exchange; it is to foster exchanges between America and Tibet, Rep. McGovern continued.  “Our goal is an open and accessible Tibet, where Americans can visit and learn from the wonders of the Tibetan Plateau – its natural beauty, its people, and its rich culture and religious heritage.” 

U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) is the lead Republican co-sponsor of the bill. 

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