McGovern, Smith lead Bipartisan Group of 27 House Lawmakers Calling on Biden Administration to Make Tibet a Priority

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United States Congressmen Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) led a bipartisan group of 27 House lawmakers in a letter asking the Biden administration to make Tibet a priority. McGovern and Smith have been leading voices in Congress for human rights in Tibet. They coauthored the Tibetan Policy and Support Act, which became law in 2020, and McGovern authored the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which became law in 2018.

“Advocacy for the rights and dignity of the Tibetan people, by Administrations of both parties, has long been an expression of a principled foreign policy grounded in universal values and support for democratic freedoms, wrote the lawmakers in their letter. “Tibet matters to us, not only as an issue that is important to our constituents and the Tibetan-American community, but also as a tangible manifestation of a values-based foreign policy that prioritizes human rights and the quest for human dignity.”

A companion letter, which was signed by a group of bipartisan members in the United States Senate, was led by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

In their letter to Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, who is expected to be appointed Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, the lawmakers provided 11 specific areas where the Biden administration and Congress can collaborate to advance U.S. policy on Tibet consistent with U.S. law, including the 2002 Tibetan Policy Act and the 2020 Tibetan Policy and Support Act (TPSA):

  • Engage with His Holiness the Dalai Lama; 
  • Deepen engagement with the Central Tibetan Administration;
  • Support religious freedom and the Dalai Lama’s right to direct his reincarnation;
  • Promote access to Tibet for foreign diplomats, journalists and tourists, and fully implement the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act;
  • Help invigorate a political initiative to put Tibetans back at the table; 
  • Ensure U.S. government language on Tibet’s status is accurate and facilitates future negotiations;
  • Assist Tibetan refugees in Nepal;
  • Support Tibetan language and culture;
  • Protect Tibetan cultural heritage sites at risk;
  • Advocate for Tibetan political prisoners; and
  • Engage in multilateral coordination toward these goals.