Tibetan leaders and eminent experts have urged the Trump administration to take up with China on a priority basis the issue of “suppression” of Tibetan Buddhism. The Chinese government implements countless restrictions on Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan’s peaceful religions activity that have created an extremely oppressive environment, said Tenzin Dorjee, the commissioner of the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) during a Congressional briefing on ‘Tibetan Buddhism Today’. “The Chinese Government has intensified its efforts to suppress Tibetan Buddhism,” he said, adding that Beijing recently has appointed Communist Party members to control the monastery education system.
The Chinese Government seeks to strike at the heart of Tibetan Buddhism by attacking the Tibetan religious and educational institutions, he alleged. Expressing concern over the Chinese government control over reincarnation system of Tibet, he said this it was a very serious matter. In his remarks, Dorjee urged US Congress to pass the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which would deny entry into the US to Chinese government officials responsible for creating or administering restrictions on US government officials, journalists, independent observers, and tourists seeking to travel to Tibetan areas. Bhuchung K Tsering, vice president of International Campaign for Tibet, said that the Trump administration should implement the Tibet Policy Act of 2002 to send a message to China that the US wants a solution to the Tibetan issue through negotiations between the Chinese leadership and representatives of the Dalai Lama. This includes the early appointment of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, whose central objective is to encourage such a negotiation, he said.
The Tibetan Policy Act stipulates that the administration should call for “the immediate and unconditional release of all those held prisoner for expressing their political or religious views in Tibet.” Tsering said the US should support the call made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2012, urging Chinese authorities to address the longstanding grievances that have led to an alarming escalation in forms of protest, including self-immolations, in Tibetan areas.
The US should support the UN call to China “to allow independent and impartial monitors to visit and assess the actual conditions on the ground, and to lift restrictions on media access to the region,” he said. Tsering argued that Congress should send a similar strong message to China by enacting the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, a bipartisan, bicameral legislation that aims to call for the same access to American diplomats, journalists, and citizens to Tibet, just as their Chinese counterparts get in the US. In her remarks, Sarah Cook, senior research analyst for East Asia at Freedom House, urged the Trump administration to retain China’s designation as a country of particular concern under the International Religious Freedom Act and impose additional penalties available under the law.