The House of Representatives in Washington, on Tuesday, Jan 28, voted to pass a bill on sanctions against Chinese officials for reportedly interfering in the process of determining the next possible successor to Dalai Lama, as they continue to raise pressure on the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.
Under the legislation, the US could tentatively freeze any American asset and travel of Chinese officials in the country, if they are found to be involved either in 'identifying or installing a Dalai Lama' approved by Beijing.
Read | US House passes bill on sanctions against Chinese officials for meddling in Dalai Lama's succession
According to the Bill, the successor or the supposed reincarnation of Tibetan Buddhist leaders, including a 15th Dalai Lama in the future is an 'exclusive right' solely held by the Tibetan Buddhist community.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, reportedly a longtime advocate for Tibet stated, the Bill aims to encourage Beijing to resume dialogue with Dalai Lama' envoys over the issue of autonomy and Statehood. Notably, talks between China and the Dalai Lama broke off nearly a decade ago.
Addressing the House, the Speaker said, 'We are supporting the Tibetan people's rights to religious freedom and genuine autonomy by formally establishing a US policy that the Tibetan Buddhist community has the exclusive right to choose its religious leaders, including the 15th Dalai Lama.'
Reportedly, a total of 932 lawmakers voted for the Bill while 22 representatives opposed it.
Notably, in the latest human rights bill passed in the US Congress, an act supporting the ongoing Hong Kong protests was also included which seems to have upset China, according to reports. This could further strain the relationship between the two States worry experts.
The Act which still needs approval from the Senate will include efforts to prohibit China from opening any further Consulates in the US until Washington can open a mission in Lhasa, Tibet's heavily restricted "original" capital.
Apart from this, restricting official travel for Chinese government staff and indefinitely freezing their overseas assets in the US are all recommended in the Bill, as per the Global Magnitsky Act.
The Global Magnitsky Act allows the US to sanction foreign government officials implicated in human rights abuses anywhere in the world.
Dalai Lamas are believed to be patrons and saints of Tibet and they follow a long history of religious inclination who are highly revered for their wisdom, non-violent principles and faith by people from all religions across the world.
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born in Tibet in 1935 and was formally trained in the school of Tibetan Buddhism. Shortly after being chosen as the spiritual leader to guide the self-autonomous region of Tibet by its people, he was quickly sent to exile, amidst the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese oppression. He fled to neighbouring India on March 30, 1959, where he currently lives.