Text: H.R.1872 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 115-330 (12/19/2018)
[115th Congress Public Law 330]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[[Page 132 STAT. 4479]]
Public Law 115-330
To promote access for United States diplomats and other officials,
journalists, and other citizens to Tibetan areas of the People's
Republic of China, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: Dec. 19,
2018 - [H.R. 1872]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Reciprocal
Access to Tibet Act of 2018. 8 USC 1182 note.>>
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) The Government of the People's Republic of China does
not grant United States diplomats and other officials,
journalists, and other citizens access to China on a basis that
is reciprocal to the access that the Government of the United
States grants Chinese diplomats and other officials,
journalists, and citizens.
(2) The Government of China imposes greater restrictions on
travel to Tibetan areas than to other areas of China.
(3) Officials of China have stated that Tibet is open to
(4) The Government of China is promoting tourism in Tibetan
areas, and at the Sixth Tibet Work Forum in August 2015, Premier
Li Keqiang called for Tibet to build ``major world tourism
(5) The Government of China requires foreigners to obtain
permission from the Tibet Foreign and Overseas Affairs Office or
from the Tibet Tourism Bureau to enter the Tibet Autonomous
Region, a restriction that is not imposed on travel to any other
provincial-level jurisdiction in China.
(6) The Department of State reports that--
(A) officials of the Government of the United States
submitted 39 requests for diplomatic access to the Tibet
Autonomous Region between May 2011 and July 2015, but
only four were granted; and
(B) when such requests are granted, diplomatic
personnel are closely supervised and given few
opportunities to meet local residents not approved by
(7) The Government of China delayed United States consular
access for more than 48 hours after an October 28, 2013, bus
crash in the Tibet Autonomous Region, in which three citizens of
the United States died and more than a dozen others, all from
Walnut, California, were injured, undermining
[[Page 132 STAT. 4480]]
the ability of the Government of the United States to provide
consular services to the victims and their families, and failing
to meet China's obligations under the Convention on Consular
Relations, done at Vienna April 24, 1963 (21 UST 77).
(8) Following a 2015 earthquake that trapped dozens of
citizens of the United States in the Tibet Autonomous Region,
the United States Consulate General in Chengdu faced significant
challenges in providing emergency consular assistance due to a
lack of consular access.
(9) The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015
of the Department of State stated ``With the exception of a few
highly controlled trips, the Chinese government also denied
multiple requests by foreign diplomats for permission to visit
(10) Tibetan-Americans, attempting to visit their homeland,
report having to undergo a discriminatory visa application
process, different from what is typically required, at the
Chinese embassy and consulates in the United States, and often
find their requests to travel denied.
(11) The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016
of the Department of State stated ``The few visits to the TAR by
diplomats and journalists that were allowed were tightly
controlled by local authorities.''.
(12) A September 2016 article in the Washington Post
reported that ``The Tibet Autonomous Region . . . is harder to
visit as a journalist than North Korea.''.
(13) The Government of China has failed to respond
positively to requests from the Government of the United States
to open a consulate in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region.
(14) The Foreign Correspondents Club of China reports that--
(A) 2008 rules prevent foreign reporters from
visiting the Tibet Autonomous Region without prior
permission from the Government of such Region;
(B) such permission has only rarely been granted;
(C) although the 2008 rules allow journalists to
travel freely in other parts of China, Tibetan areas
outside such Region remain ``effectively off-limits to
(15) The Department of State reports that in addition to
having to obtain permission to enter the Tibet Autonomous
Region, foreign tourists--
(A) must be accompanied at all times by a
government-designated tour guide;
(B) are rarely granted permission to enter the
region by road;
(C) are largely barred from visiting around the
March anniversary of a 1959 Tibetan uprising; and
(D) are banned from visiting the area where Larung
Gar, the world's largest center for the study of Tibetan
Buddhism, and the site of a large-scale campaign to
expel students and demolish living quarters, is located.
(16) Foreign visitors also face restrictions in their
ability to travel freely in Tibetan areas outside the Tibet
(17) The Government of the United States generally allows
journalists and other citizens of China to travel freely within
the United States. The Government of the United States
[[Page 132 STAT. 4481]]
requires diplomats from China to notify the Department of State
of their travel plans, and in certain situations, the Government
of the United States requires such diplomats to obtain approval
from the Department of State before travel. However, where
approval is required, it is almost always granted expeditiously.
(18) The United States regularly grants visas to Chinese
diplomats and other officials, scholars, and others who travel
to the United States to discuss, promote, and display the
perspective of the Government of China on the situation in
Tibetan areas, even as the Government of China restricts the
ability of citizens of the United States to travel to Tibetan
areas to gain their own perspective.
(19) Chinese diplomats based in the United States generally
avail themselves of the freedom to travel to United States
cities and lobby city councils, mayors, and governors to refrain
from passing resolutions, issuing proclamations, or making
statements of concern on Tibet.
(20) The Government of China characterizes statements made
by officials of the United States about the situation in Tibetan
areas as inappropriate interference in the internal affairs of
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) Appropriate congressional committees.--The term
``appropriate congressional committees'' means--
(A) the Committee on Foreign Relations and the
Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate; and
(B) the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the
Committee on the Judiciary of the House of
(2) Tibetan areas.--The term ``Tibetan areas'' includes--
(A) the Tibet Autonomous Region; and
(B) the areas that the Chinese Government designates
as Tibetan Autonomous, as follows:
(i) Kanlho (Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture, and Pari (Tianzhu) Tibetan Autonomous
County located in Gansu Province.
(ii) Golog (Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture, Malho (Huangnan) Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture, Tsojang (Haibei) Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture, Tsolho (Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture, Tsonub (Haixi) Mongolian and Tibetan
Autonomous Prefecture, and Yulshul (Yushu) Tibetan
Autonomous Prefecture, located in Qinghai
(iii) Garze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture, Ngawa (Aba) Tibetan and Qiang
Autonomous Prefecture, and Muli (Mili) Tibetan
Autonomous County, located in Sichuan Province.
(iv) Dechen (Diqing) Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture, located in Yunnan Province.
SEC. 4. ANNUAL REPORT ON ACCESS TO TIBETAN AREAS.
(a) <<NOTE: Time period. Public information. Web
posting. Assessment.>> In General.--Not later than 90 days after the
date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter for the
following five years, the Secretary of State shall submit to the
appropriate congressional committees, and make available to the public
on the website of the Department of State, a report that includes
[[Page 132 STAT. 4482]]
an assessment of the level of access Chinese authorities granted
diplomats and other officials, journalists, and tourists from the United
States to Tibetan areas, including--
(1) a comparison with the level of access granted to other
areas of China;
(2) a comparison between the levels of access granted to
Tibetan and non-Tibetan areas in relevant provinces;
(3) a comparison of the level of access in the reporting
year and the previous reporting year; and
(4) a description of the required permits and other measures
that impede the freedom to travel in Tibetan areas.
(b) Consolidation.--After the issuance of the first report required
by subsection (a), the Secretary of State is authorized to incorporate
subsequent reports required by subsection (a) into other publicly
available, annual reports produced by the Department of State, provided
they are submitted to the appropriate congressional committees in a
manner specifying that they are being submitted in fulfillment of the
requirements of this Act.
SEC. 5. INADMISSIBILITY OF CERTAIN ALIENS.
(a) <<NOTE: Determination.>> Ineligibility for Visas.--No
individual whom the Secretary of State has determined to be
substantially involved in the formulation or execution of policies
related to access for foreigners to Tibetan areas may be eligible to
receive a visa to enter the United States or be admitted to the United
States if the Secretary of State determines that--
(1)(A) the requirement for specific official permission for
foreigners to enter the Tibetan Autonomous Region remains in
(B) such requirement has been replaced by a regulation that
has a similar effect and requires foreign travelers to gain a
level of permission to enter the Tibet Autonomous Region that is
not required for travel to other provinces in China; and
(2) restrictions on travel by diplomats and other officials,
journalists, and citizens of the United States to areas
designated as ``Tibetan Autonomous'' in the provinces of
Sichuan, Qinghai, Yunnan, and Gansu of China are greater than
any restrictions on travel by such officials and citizens to
areas in such provinces that are not so designated.
(b) Current Visas Revoked.--The Secretary of State shall revoke, in
accordance with section 221(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8
U.S.C. 1201(i)), the visa or other documentation to enter or be present
in the United States issued for an alien who would be ineligible to
receive such a visa or documentation under subsection (a).
(c) <<NOTE: Time period. List.>> Report to Congress.--Not later
than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually
thereafter for the following five years, the Secretary of State shall
provide to the appropriate congressional committees a report identifying
the individuals who have had visas denied or revoked pursuant to this
section during the preceding year and, to the extent practicable, a list
of Chinese officials who were substantially involved in the formulation
or execution of policies to restrict access of United States diplomats
and other officials, journalists, and citizens of the United States to
Tibetan areas. The report required by this
[[Page 132 STAT. 4483]]
subsection shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may include a
(d) Waiver for National Interest.--
(1) <<NOTE: Determination.>> In general.--The Secretary of
State may waive the application of subsection (a) or (b) in the
case of an alien if the Secretary determines that such a
(A) is necessary to permit the United States to
comply with the Agreement Regarding the Headquarters of
the United Nations, signed at Lake Success June 26,
1947, and entered into force November 21, 1947 (TIAS
1676), or any other applicable international obligation
of the United States; or
(B) is in the national interest of the United
(2) Notification.--Upon granting a waiver under paragraph
(1), the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate
congressional committees a document detailing the evidence and
justification for the necessity of such waiver, including, if
such waiver is granted pursuant to paragraph (1)(B), how such
waiver relates to the national interest of the United States.
SEC. 6. SENSE OF CONGRESS.
It is the sense of Congress that the Secretary of State, when
granting diplomats and other officials from China access to parts of the
United States, including consular access, should take into account the
extent to which the Government of China grants diplomats and other
officials from the United States access to parts of China, including the
level of access afforded to such diplomats and other officials to
Approved December 19, 2018.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 1872:
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 164 (2018):
Sept. 25, considered and passed House.
Dec. 11, considered and passed Senate.