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US Congressional committee passes crucial bill on Tibet

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep Bob Goodlatte said China has “imposed severe restrictions on Tibetans’ ability to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms.” (Source: AP)

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday unanimously passed a crucial bill on Tibet to promote access for United States officials, journalists, and other citizens to the Tibetan areas of the People’s Republic of China, reported PTI.

The bill, titled ‘The Reciprocation Access to Tibet Act’ was introduced in the Senate by Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin, while in the House of Representatives it was introduced by Congressmen Jim McGovern (Democratic) and Randy Hultgren (Republican).

Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said the act “…addresses an issue of longstanding and increasing concern regarding China’s treatment of Tibetans living in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas controlled by China.”

Goodlatte said, after 1950 when the Chinese People’s Liberation Army went into Tibet in order to establish control over the region, the US Department of State noted that they “imposed severe restrictions on Tibetans’ ability to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

“In order to prevent documentation of the religious freedom restrictions and other human rights abuses to the outside world, the Government of China has severely limited access by foreign nationals to the Tibetan regions,” he added.

Goodlatte said that the Chinese government routinely engages in human rights abuses, so much that, in the recent years, over 150 Tibetans have self-immolated themselves to get the rest of the world to focus on the problem.

PTI reported Congressman Jerrold Nadler saying, that the bill is important because it can help expose human rights violations taking place in Tibet.

Goodlatte added: “Moving this bill is the right thing to do,” “It is time that Congress take a stand with regard to access by foreign nationals to the Tibetan regions.” To which, Congressman Zoe Lofgren aid the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act would help make sure China’s relationship with the US is fair and reciprocal.

Recently, AP quoted from an officials Chinese Communist Party newspaper report that children in Tibet have been banned from taking part in religious activities over the summer holidays.

(With PTI inputs)

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