US Issues Visa Restrictions on Chinese Officials Over Tibetan Access
20:49 GMT 07.07.2020(updated 21:13 GMT 07.07.2020)
The US Department of State announced on Tuesday it had imposed visa restrictions on Chinese officials deemed to be responsible for Beijing's policies controlling foreigners' access to the Tibet Autonomous Region.
"Beijing has continued systematically to obstruct travel to the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas by US diplomats and other officials, journalists, and tourists, while PRC [People's Republic of China] officials and other citizens enjoy far greater access to the United States," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in the statement.
"Therefore, 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," Pompeo said. "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."
Pompeo's remarks come after Washington indicated its support for India in the ongoing dispute between New Delhi and Beijing over the location of the border in Ladakh, which sits between Tibet and Jammu and Kashmir. Last month, the head of India's Arunachal Pradesh, another border area under dispute, referred to that dispute as being on the India-Tibet border instead of the India-China border.
According to Tibet-based travel site TibetTravel, international visitors to the mountainous region must apply for an entry permit at least 20 days before their trip, and the TAR closes to foreigners at certain times of year, such as during the most dangerous wintry months or around certain political anniversaries and holidays.
For example, last year, international travel to Tibet was banned ahead of the 60th anniversary of a botched uprising against Chinese rule in March 1959. The uprising, which was heavily supported by the US Central Intelligence Agency, failed. The defeat of the uprising on March 28, 1959, is celebrated in China as "Serfs Emancipation Day," when Tibetan serfdom was abolished.
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