Overturning the decades-old American policy of providing financial assistance to the community for safeguarding their distinct identity, President Donald Trump has proposed zero aid in 2018 to the Tibetans.
The detailed proposal is sent to the Congress by the State Department, describing it as one of the “tough choices” that it had to make as its budget itself has been slashed by more than 28 per cent.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has expressed concern over the Trump’s move. Drew Hammill, spokesman for Pelosi said, “Leader Pelosi is very concerned about the zeroing out of aid to the Tibetan community in the Trump budget proposal.”
In its footnote of the budget, The State Department said that Special Academic Exchanges, whose budgetary allocation has been reduced from more than USD 14.7 million in 2017 to just USD 7 million for 2018, would include funding for programmes such as the Benjamin A Gilman International Scholarship Program, Mobility (Disability) Exchanges, and the Tibet Fund.
“As we work to streamline efforts to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of US taxpayers’ dollars, we acknowledge that we have to prioritise and make some tough choices,” a State Department official told PTI.
“Focusing our efforts will allow us to advance our most important policy goals and national security interests, while ensuring that other donor countries contribute their fair share toward meeting global challenges,” the official said requesting anonymity.
However, the official did not identify the countries that it would like to help continue funding for the Tibetan cause.
The move to abolish Tibet fund is expected to be widely opposed in the Congress. The US policy towards Tibet is currently driven by the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 which was signed by the last Republican President George W Bush.