Influential US senators have showed their support in a provision that grants 5,000 visa to Tibetan refuges living in India and Nepal. This provision will be included as an amendment in the landmark immigration reform bill still under debate. The amendment, offered by Senator Dianne Feinstein and cosponsored by Chairman Patrick Leahy and Senator Chuck Schumer, was approved by voice vote and included in the immigration reform bill currently under consideration in the US Senate.
This is more or less a slap across China’s face; and the timing is adding insult to an injury as China’s newly installed President Xi Jinping is scheduled to meet President Obama in a couple of weeks at the Leonore Annenberg estate in California. In fact, slapping China across the face for the sake of Tibet may have been the senators’ intention. As republican Senator Chuck Grassley put it, “On this issue I don’t mind irritating China,” according to a GlobaPost report. (See details here.)
This is more or less a direct reaction to about 110 Tibetans losing their lives to self-immolation in protest of Chinese rule since 2009. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been accused by the Chinese government for encouraging self-immolation. At the same time, the Dalai Lama has not called upon his people to stop such self-sacrifice, though many believe that he has the power to stop it. Washington Post’s columnist Sally Quinn has recently peeled open the complexity of this issue in her opinion piece titled “The Dalai Lama’s compassion disconnect.”
Self-immolation weighs heavy on everyone’s mind. It’s just such a horrific scene to behold, such a gruesome tale to regale. In the title story of my short fiction collection, “Bitter Tea and Braided Hair,” I made a valiant attempt to depict one such incident. And apparently it’s done a good job telling a difficult story, because multiple online ezines have re-printed it and it has also been turned into a Podcast. You owe yourself to check it out:
Ironically, even with such affirmative advantage, we will see far fewer Tibetan immigrate to US than Chinese. First off, compared to the Tibetans, there is a much larger Chinese diaspora population in US which sponsors far more legal Chinese immigrants than Tibetan ones. Secondly, swarms of rich Chinese are buying their way into US.
Each year, the US Congress grants 12,000 permanent green cards to foreigners who invest a minimum of $500,000 in US, in a business that creates no less than 10 new jobs. In the fiscal year of 2012, the US issued roughly 8500 such millionaire-investor visas. Guess what? 80% of those were given to investors from China. The Chinese are picking up these green cards like you and I are picking up a chicken salad sandwich from our local deli. It has gotten to such crazy level that the US congress has been talking about capping the visas given to Chinese millionaires with a “China quota.”
You can find this and other fascinating stories about China in my book “Revolution Is a Dinner Party — Rogue Pluralism in China.”