In an ultimatum of sorts, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee in an Act July 20 has directed the Secretary of State to forbid additional Chinese consulates in the United States until China allows a US consulate in Lhasa, Tibet.
The House panel in its Foreign Relations Authorization Act Fiscal Year 2012 while amending the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 said that “The Secretary shall seek to establish a United States consulate in Lhasa, Tibet, to provide services to United States citizens traveling in Tibet and to monitor political, economic, and cultural developments in Tibet, including Tibetan areas of Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan provinces and, until such consulate is established, shall not permit the establishment in the United States of any additional consulate of the People’s Republic of China”.
The Act also authorised the Secretary of State to “establish a Tibet Section within the United States Embassy in Beijing” saying that the “chief of such Tibet Section should be of senior Rank”.
The Chinese government is reportedly seeking new consulates in Atlanta and Boston.
The US House of Representatives on June 12, 2009 had passed a bill authorising the establishment of a US Consulate in Tibet and also allowing the creation of a “Tibet Section” in the US embassy in Beijing.
Raising serious concerns over the increasing suppression of religious freedom in Tibet, the Act directed representatives of the United States Government to call for a cessation of all interference by the Government of the People’s Republic of China in the reincarnation system of Tibetan Buddhism during exchanges with officials of the Government of the People’s Republic of China.
China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs had on August 3, 2007, issued what it calls the “Management measures for the reincarnation of living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism”, decreeing that all the reincarnations of tulkus must get government approval, otherwise they are “illegal or invalid”.
Giving a major boost to the provisions of the Tibetan Policy Act 2002, the House also called on the US President to direct the “National Security Council to ensure that, in accordance with this Act, United States policy on Tibet is coordinated and communicated with all executive branch agencies in contact with the Government of the People’s Republic of China”.