FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 22 December 2020
TPSA WILL BECOME US LAW WHEN PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS BILL
NEW YORK, December 22nd—Yesterday, US Congress approved a $900 billion pandemic relief package, which contained all of the language from the Tibetan Policy and Support Act (TPSA). TPSA unanimously passed the House of Representatives in January 2020 and has been waiting in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since then.
Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) campaigned strongly for this bill. SFT members sent nearly 1000 letters to Congress in support of TPSA. Advocacy efforts like the letter campaign are part of the reason why 25 Senators co-sponsored this bill. Furthermore, Senators like Chuck Schumer and Jeff Merkley personally responded to SFT’s letters, pledging their support for TPSA. SFT’s grassroots base of students in the US also mobilized to hold virtual lobbying meetings with influential Senators, including Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris and Senator Amy Klobuchar.
SFT’s Campaigns Director, Pema Doma, was overjoyed by the positive news:
“It is truly heartening to see that the US government is standing with the Tibetan people on the right side of history. TPSA promotes the values of human rights, religious freedom, and climate justice. While there is much more work to be done to free Tibet, this is an excellent victory and a step in the right direction. I hope that other world leaders can use TPSA as an example of how to incorporate human rights principles and religious freedom into foreign policy.”
Among other shifts in US foreign policy, this bill makes it official US Policy that only the Tibetan community has the right to appoint Tibetan Buddhist leaders. As China is determined to dictate how Tibetans in Tibet practice their religion, this is of utmost importance. This bill also would only permit future Chinese Consulates and Embassies in the US if China allows the US to build an embassy in Lhasa. Having an American Embassy in Lhasa would help guarantee that human rights violations in Tibet do not go unnoticed. SFT is also glad that this bill addresses the “Tibet Climate Crisis” by calling for a stronger international response to monitor the environmental catastrophe on the Tibetan plateau.
Students for a Free Tibet is grateful to all the elected officials who worked tirelessly to incorporate TPSA into this stimulus package.