US Congress Passes Bill on Reciprocal Travel to Tibet

The United States House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill that will deny U.S. entry to Chinese officials who prohibit American citizens from entering western China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, following heavy lobbying by Tibetan-Americans and Tibet supporters for members of Congress to pass it.

The bipartisan Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act aims to open up the isolated and repressed region to U.S. diplomats, NGO workers, journalists reporting on human rights abuses, and others whom Chinese authorities prevent from traveling freely.

“Today is a great day for human rights,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Congress, who introduced the legislation. “If China wants its citizens and officials to continue to travel freely in the U.S., then Americans — including Tibetan Americans — must be able to  travel freely in China, including Tibet, beginning now.”

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