US Congressional panel passes crucial bill on Tibet

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Washington, July 27: A key Congressional committee has unanimously passed a crucial bill on Tibet under which Chinese officials responsible for discriminating against Americans who try to enter Tibet would be banned from entering the US.
The bill titled ‘The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act’, seeking unhindered access to Tibetan areas to US officials, journalists and common citizens, something which is routinely denied by the Chinese government, now moves to the House of Representatives.
The legislation seeks to ensure that Americans are given the same access to Tibet that Chinese citizens have to the US.
It was passed by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
“Moving this bill is the right thing to do,” Congressman Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary committee said.
“It is time that Congress take a stand with regard to access by foreign nationals to the Tibetan regions, he said.
“If Chinese officials, journalists and other citizens are able to travel freely in this country, it’s only fair that their American counterparts are able to do the same, Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said.
Congressman Jerrold Nadler, ranking member of the Committee, said that the bill is important because it can help expose human rights violations taking place in Tibet.
For Tibetans, restricted access to the region leaves them in virtual isolation from the rest of the world…while also precluding international witnesses to the Chinese government’s continuous violations of the Tibetans’ human rights which include arbitrary arrests, torture, heightened surveillance and severe restrictions on religious freedom,” he said. (PTI)