US Tibetan Policy: Possibilities Of Using Nepal’s Land Against China

At present, there is debate of Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in Nepal. Secondly the debate of US Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) is reaching in peak. But, the US bill on Tibetan Policy and Support Act 2019 is in under the shadow which directly impact on Nepal-China relations.

The policy targeting to the Tibet, an autonomous region of China has focused on Nepal to. This new law has shown signs of interference with Nepal’s ‘One China Policy’. However, there has been no discussion of a Tibetan bill passed by the United States in Nepal that has been embroiled in MCC controversy. In fact, in the political document presented in the second full meeting of the central committee of the ruling party of Nepal; Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) was stated that IPS had come in line with US strategy to surround China. Later It was corrected after the many of CCM agitate on the phrase. The document remains silent about the MCC and the bill.

Meeting formed the task force under the leadership of senior leader JhalaNath Khanal to review the MCC. PrimeMinister Kp Sharma Oli, one of the Chair of the CPN is in position to pass the MCC from the parliament.

This article is focused on the another factor affecting Nepal-China relations; US Tibetan Policy and Support Act 2019.

What is the latest US law on Tibet?

A law passed by the US parliament last month has closely monitored the human rights situation in Tibet. Also support the activities of ‘Dalai Lama’ and his followers. Not only that, it supported the separationist of the Tibet. The law is expected to put pressure on China to set up a US diplomatic center in Tibet. Under this legal foundation, the United States will now ban the new Chinese consulate in the United States until it establishes its diplomatic center in Tibet.

However, China has commented that the US move would help those seeking independent Tibet. China has accused the US of questioning China’s sovereignty and geographical integrity.

The law that is now passed will replace the ‘Tibetan Policy Act 2002’. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has recently raised the issue of Tibet.

“We are supporting the rights of religious freedom of Tibetan citizens,” she said during a vote in parliament last month, “The Tibetan Buddhist community has the right to elect its religious leader and future Dalai Lama.”

The new law has added a provision for the President to provide financial support to NGOs in Tibet for the sustainable development of the Tibetan community, to preserve cultural and historicity as well as to protect health education and the environment.

Likewise, the bill envisages a special coordinator to look into the Tibet issue. The aim of which is to make the selection of new Dalai Lama through a democratic way through dialogue between the Dalai Lama’s representative and the Chinese government.

Nepal under the new law

Nepal is also discussed in US laws regarding Tibet. The third section of the law deals with the selection of the successor of the Dalai Lama. In this section, Nepal and Bhutan, India, Mongolia, China, Russia and the United States have a Tibetan Buddhist community accusing China of interfering in the selection of a new Dalai Lama.

It also included the statement given by the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on March 29, 1919, that the selection of the successor of the living Buddha along with the new Dalai Lama should be in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations. In this section, explaining American policy, the participation of the Tibetan Buddhist community in the election of a new Dalai Lama is mentioned in a traditional way.

According to the wish of the 14th Dalai Lama, there should be an election of the 15th Dalai Lama. The law stipulates that the Chinese government or any government’s activities that restrict Tibetan Buddhist activity will violate the basic religious freedom of the Tibetan people and Tibetan Buddhists. The United States may be banned from engaging in such activities. By which activities of the

The fifth section of this law also mentions the democratic system of the exiled Tibetan community. Under which the Tibetan refugee community around the world should be given the right to elect a leader with the right to self-governance.

In section 4 of it, referring to the Tibetan community seeking to preserve its culture, religion and language, the US State Department must deal with the Government of Nepal.

“The Secretary of State should urge the Government of Nepal to honor the Gentleman’s Agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and to provide legal documentation to long-staying Tibetan residents in Nepal who fled a credible threat of persecution in Tibet in order to allow them to more fully participate in the economy and society of Nepal. ‘

By this Act, it is authorized to be appropriated $1,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2021 through 2025 for the Office of the United States Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. Likewise, US will invest 1,250,000 $ on Name of Tibetan Scholarship Program each years on Nepal like nations.

US will invest in Nepal on project of Humanitarian Assistance and Support to Tibetan Refugees in South Asia. It also amid to invest $8,000,000 for each year of the fiscal years 2021 through 2025 under to support activities which preserve cultural traditions and promote sustainable development, education, and environmental conservation in Tibetan communities in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in other Tibetan communities in China.

Under the Assistance for Tibetans in India and Nepal, US will invest 6,000,000$ in name of promotion and preservation of Tibetan Culture and language Development. This investment is directly amid to development of future generation of Tibetan leaders. It will impact the relations between Nepal and China. The act has authorized to be appropriated $3,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2021 through 2025 for programs to strengthen the capacity of Tibetan institutions and strengthen democracy, governance, information and international outreach, and research.

Not only that US is investing on Media too. There is authorized to be appropriated $3,344,000 for each of the fiscal years 2021 through 2025 to Voice of America and $4,060,000 for each of the fiscal years 2021 through 2025 to Radio Free Asia for broadcasts to provide uncensored news and information in the Tibetan language to Tibetans, including Tibetans in Tibet.

There are Tibetan refugees in various camps in Pokhara and Kathmandu in Nepal. According to the data of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees in the United Nations, there are about 15,000 Tibetan refugees in Nepal.

This investment made through US law will directly enter Nepal. The amount of money entering Nepal through various NGOs can boost activities of Tibetan Refugees. However, Nepal is committed to ‘one China policy’.

After last visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Nepal, eight MPs, including two co-chairs of the parliamentary body watching the US parliament’s human rights, called on Nepal not to sign a treaty with China, saying it could be targeted against the Tibetan community.

In the past, US officials have also publicly stated that Tibetan refugees who have entered Nepal should be allowed to enter India by giving them access to the Tibetan Refugee Center in Kathmandu.

US lawmakers also indirectly pressed on Nepal by referring to the context of the Nepalese garment industry bill being withdrawn from the Senate after Nepal transferred four Tibetan refugees to China. The letter raised the issue of the Chinese President’s visit to Nepal and the extradition treaty between Nepal and China, which was raised on the sidelines.

Earlier in 2003, US President George W. Bush proposed that Tibetan refugees in Nepal be resettled in the United States.

In a hearing on South Asia held at the Foreign Affairs Committee last month, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Alice G. Wells said China’s influence in Nepal had increased, as well as increased government control over the Tibetan community.

US Senator and Foreign Affairs Committee member Robert Menendez drew attention to the letter on October 11, stating that Nepal is ready to sign a Chinese-President’s visit to Nepal, and that the process of removal of Tibetan refugees in Nepal may proceed.

Nepal did not go ahead with the letter. Increasing Tibetan activity in Nepal is a great concern of China. The recent high-level visit from China has creating the milestone on Nepal-China relation. The US Act will impact on our ongoing relations. Nepal should monitor such investment on the Tibetan communities which could be used against the China from the soil of the Nepal.

(Dhakal is Master’s in Journalism and Mass Communication from Tribhuvan University and currently studying Master’s in Public Administration in University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC) Chengdu. Diplomatic Correspondent at Kathamandu.
twitter- @bidhur_dhakal,
WeChat- @dhbidhur)

This article is originally published in The Asia Live. Click Here to Read original article.

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