Dr Lobsang Sangay, President of CTA with Ministers and Members of Tibetan Parliament on January 8, 2021. Photo: TPI/Yangchen Dolma

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Dharamshala, India — Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) held a ceremony in Dharamshala to show gratitude to the US government for signing Tibetan Policy and Support Act 2020 (TPSA) into law. The ceremony takes place on January 8, 2021. “The Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 is a tribute to the great legacy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to the courage and solidarity of six million Tibetans outside and inside Tibet,” remarked Dr Lobsang Sangay, president of CTA in presence of officials and media persons.

Kashag(Cabinet), Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission, Ministers, Members of the Standing Committee of the parliament, Secretaries and deputy Secretaries of the CTA departments attended the occasion that marked a historical significance for Tibetans across the world at Sikyong Hall to celebrate and show gratitude to US for legalising the TPSA 2020 into a law.

At the ceremony Dr Sangay thanked the US government and for the support of its people, US Congress for passing the bill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority leader of Senate Senator Chuck Schumer for their constant support and Representative Jim McGovern, Co-sponsor Chris Smith, Senator Rubio and Co-sponsor Ben Cardin. Likewise, Senator Jim Risch, Chair of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Menendez, Representatives Eliot L. Engel and Michael McCaul, Chair and Co-Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Committee for equally assisting in pushing the bill.

“The Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 is a tribute to the great legacy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to the courage and solidarity of six million Tibetans outside and inside Tibet. We have been pushing for this for the last few years. This historic win for Tibet and the Tibetan people wouldn’t have been possible without the steadfast support and contribution of key sponsors, co-sponsors and everyone who has been in this journey throughout and beyond,” said the president.

Dr Sangay also expressed his appreciation to key staff involved who provided significant help and support throughout the process including Reva Price of Speaker’s office Senior Advisor to Speaker Pelosi, Jennifer Hendrixson-White Senior House Foreign Affairs Committee Staffer, Brian of House Foreign Affairs Committee, Bethany Poulos-Foreign Affairs Advisor for Senator Rubio’s office, Michael Schiffer-Senior Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer, Charlotte Oldham-Moore-Senior Senate Foreign Relations Committee Staffer, Lara Crouch-Indo-Pacific Senate Foreign Relations Committee Staffer, Chris Socha-Chairman Risch’s top senior foreign policy advisor and staff director for SFRC, and Jonathan Stivers, key in drafting the bill, Director of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He extended his heartiest gratitude to everyone for making the bill into a law and a reality on the behalf of six million Tibetans residing outside and inside Tibet.

"TPSA2020 becomes an official policy of the United States that oversees the decisions regarding the succession of the Dalai Lama remaining exclusively within the sole authority of the current Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist leaders and the Tibetan people alone. Any interference by the Chinese government officials will be met with serious sanctions and be deemed inadmissible into the United States," explained Sikyong at the occasion in the presence of around hundred people that included CTA officials and media persons.

"The bipartisan bill compliments His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his decision to implement democratic governance and also commends the Tibetan exile community for successfully adopting a system of self-governance with democratic institutions to choose their leaders. It formally acknowledges CTA as the legitimate institution reflecting the aspirations of the Tibetan people around the world and Sikyong as the President of the CTA," he added.

"The bill also initiates new key provisions aimed at protecting the environment and water resources on the Tibetan plateau. It recognizes the importance of traditional Tibetan grassland stewardship in mitigating the negative effects of climate change in the region as opposed to the Chinese government’s forced resettlement of the Tibetan nomads in Tibet. In addition, it calls for greater international cooperation to monitor the environment on the Tibetan plateau. American citizens and companies engaged in business activities in Tibet are encouraged to practice corporate social responsibility and to adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights," the Tibetan political leader conveyed.

Finally, in order to promote access to Tibet as enumerated in the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018, the TPSA calls for the establishment of a United States Consulate in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. Until such an establishment, the bill calls upon the Secretary of State to not authorize any new Chinese consulate in the United States, mentioned the president.

He acknowledged the ICT, RTYC, SFT, Tibetan-American associations, particularly in New York and New Jersey, and all community members who vigorously lobbied on the Hill to gain support for the bill over the years.