Tug of war continues: China imposes counter visa curbs on US personnel over Tibet

8 July, 2020 | Priyanka Sharma

China US World

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijiang on Wednesday said China has decided to introduce visa restrictions on US personnel in response to wrong actions of the US side on 'Tibet related i...

China has imposed visa restrictions on US personnel “with egregious behavior on Tibet,” CGTN reported. This comes in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement of visa restrictions on some Chinese officials under the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, 2018.

“In response to the wrong actions of the US side, China has decided to introduce visa restrictions on US personnel who behaved badly on Tibet related issues,” Zhao Lijiang, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, was quoted by the Sputnik as saying during a daily press briefing.

Earlier, Pompeo said, “Today I am announcing visa restrictions on PRC government and Chinese Communist Party officials determined 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.”

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“Access to Tibetan areas is increasingly vital to regional stability, given the PRC’s human rights abuses there, as well as Beijing’s failure to prevent environmental degradation near the headwaters of Asia’s major rivers,” he said.

The US Secretary of State had also pointed out that Beijing has continued “systematically to obstruct travel to the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas” by U.S. diplomats and other officials, journalists, and tourists, while PRC officials and other citizens enjoy far greater access to the United States.

“The United States will continue to work to advance the sustainable economic development, environmental conservation, and humanitarian conditions of Tibetan communities within the People’s Republic of China and abroad,” he said. Pompeo said US also remains “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”.

“In the spirit of true reciprocity, we will work closely with the U.S. Congress to ensure U.S. citizens have full access to all areas of the People’s Republic of China, including the TAR and other Tibetan areas,” he said.

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