US House of Representatives has passed a bill that authorises financial and travel sanctions against Chinese officials who interfere in the process of selecting the successor to the Dalai Lama. Introduced by Congressman James P McGovern, Chairman of the House Rules Committee and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, the bill was passed by a overwhelming vote of 392 to 22. The bill, if passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president, will also prohibit China from opening any new consulate in the US until Beijing allows Washington to open its diplomatic station in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital.
According to the bill, the succession or reincarnation of Tibetan Buddhist leaders, including a future 15th Dalai Lama, is an exclusively religious matter that should be decided solely by the Tibetan Buddhist community.
Under the draft legislation, Washington would freeze any American asset and ban US travel of Chinese officials if they are found to be involved in identifying or installing a Dalai Lama approved by Beijing.
The Global Magnitsky Act allows the US to sanction foreign government officials implicated in human rights abuses anywhere in the world.
The bill also mandates the US State Department to begin collaborative and multinational efforts to protect the environment and water resources of the Tibetan Plateau.