US congressman warns China not to meddle in Dalai Lama's succession

Congressman Jim McGovern to introduce bill aimed at protecting Tibet from China

14th Dalai Lama

14th Dalai Lama (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern has proposed a bill ensuring U.S. support for Tibet and the Dalai Lama.

McGovern announced the bill, which is intended to curb Chinese encroachment in Tibet, at a Tibetan refugee community meeting in New York on July 21. The congressman plans to introduce the bipartisan bill in Congress next week, reports Voice of America.

The legislation would place financial and economic sanctions on China based on the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act if they were to interfere with the succession or reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. McGovern stated that any decisions regarding who will become the 15th Dalai Lama should only be made by the Tibetan Buddhist community.

The bill also aims to promote talks between China and representatives of the Dalai Lama in order to protect the Tibetan plateau’s natural environment. It further proclaims U.S. support for Tibetan exiles and would authorize the U.S. to send them financial aid.

McGovern said that the bill, aimed at strengthening the existing Tibetan Policy Act, rules out the construction of any more Chinese consulates on U.S. soil until the U.S. has been permitted to build a consulate of its own in Lhasa, Tibet.

Beijing claims that the next Dalai Lama cannot be chosen by any individual person but must be done so by the Chinese government. The 14th and current Dalai Lama, now 84 years old, rejects this, stating that his successor will absolutely not be chosen by China.