US proclaims new visa restrictions on China over entry to Tibet; Beijing vows to retaliate

Washington/Beijing, July 8

The US has introduced new visa bans on senior Chinese officers concerned in proscribing entry to foreigners to the delicate area of Tibet and reaffirmed its assist for “meaningful autonomy” for Tibetans, opening one other level of friction amid tense relations between Washington and Beijing.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned he was taking motion towards an unspecified variety of Chinese officers, together with from the ruling Communist Party, beneath a US regulation that calls on China to let Americans go to Tibet.

“Today I announced visa restrictions on PRC (Peoples Republic of China) officials involved in restricting foreigners’ access to Tibet. We will continue to seek reciprocity in our relationship,” Pompeo tweeted on Tuesday.

Beijing has continued systematically to impede journey to the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and different Tibetan areas by US diplomats and different officers, journalists, and vacationers, whereas Chinese officers and different residents get pleasure from far better entry to the United States, he mentioned in a press release.

As such, Pompeo mentioned he was saying visa restrictions on Chinese authorities and Chinese Communist Party officers decided to be “substantially involved in the formulation or execution of policies related to access for foreigners to Tibetan areas,” pursuant to the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018.

The Act was signed into regulation by President Donald Trump in December 2018. It requires denying entry to the US for Chinese officers recognized to be concerned in proscribing visits to Tibet.

Access to Tibetan areas is more and more very important to regional stability, given the Chinese human rights abuses there, in addition to Beijing’s failure to stop environmental degradation close to the headwaters of Asia’s main rivers, he mentioned.

Also learn: China took ‘incredibly aggressive action’ in latest conflict with India: Mike Pompeo

Pompeo mentioned the US would proceed to work to advance the sustainable financial improvement, environmental conservation, and humanitarian circumstances of Tibetan communities inside China and overseas.

“We also remain committed to supporting meaningful autonomy for Tibetans, respect for their fundamental and unalienable human rights, and the preservation of their unique religious, cultural, and linguistic identity,” mentioned Pompeo.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled religious chief has been demanding significant autonomy for Tibetans. But China has considered the India-based 85-year-old Dalai Lama as a “separatist.”

“In the spirit of true reciprocity, we’ll work intently with the US Congress to make sure US residents have full entry to all areas of the People’s Republic of China, together with the TAR and different Tibetan areas,” Pompeo mentioned.

Reacting to Pompeo’s assertion, China on Wednesday mentioned it opposes the US measures, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian mentioned and warned that Beijing would retaliate with counter measures.

“In response to the US erroneous act, China decides to impose visa restrictions on US individuals with egregious conducts on Tibet-related issues,” he instructed reporters in Beijing whereas responding to Pompeo’s assertion.

“We urge the US side to immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs with Tibet as a pretext, and refrain from going further down the wrong path, lest it should further harm China-US relations as well as exchange and cooperation between the two countries” he mentioned.

“Regarding the so-called Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018, China has made clear its solemn position on many occasions. Tibetan affairs are purely China’s internal affairs that allow no foreign interference,” he mentioned.

He mentioned China pursuing a coverage of opening up, and claimed that Tibet is open to all with no restriction on foreigners’ entry.

According to incomplete statistics, from 2015 to 2018, almost 176,000 foreigners travelled to Tibet for official visits, tourism and enterprise journeys, together with about 175,000 vacationers, almost 500 diplomats and 343 journalists, he mentioned.

The spokesperson additionally famous that US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad additionally visited Tibet final yr and had talks with a number of departments of the federal government of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

Zhao mentioned there was no downside with foreigners’ entry into Tibet.

At the identical time, he emphasised that “contemplating the particular geographical and weather conditions within the area, it’s totally crucial and indeniable that the federal government takes some lawful measures to handle and defend international nationals in Tibet”.        

China welcomes extra international residents to go to, journey in and do enterprise in Tibet. “This policy won’t change. However, they must abide by Chinese laws and regulations and follow necessary procedures,” mentioned the spokesperson.

Relations between Washington and Beijing have spiralled downward because the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which Trump has blamed on China. The two international locations have additionally sparred over China imposing a brand new nationwide safety regulation in Hong Kong final month.

Restrictions on American journalists by China and retaliatory actions by the US, and variations over Beijing’s remedy of its Uyghur Muslim inhabitants within the restive area of Xinjiang have additionally contributed to the worsening bilateral ties. PTI


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