DHARAMSALA, March 26: The US has accused China of “systematically” blocking access to Tibet to diplomats and foreign journalists, reports The Week.
“The Chinese government systematically impeded travel to the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and Tibetan areas outside the TAR for US diplomats and officials, journalists and tourists in 2018,” the US State Department stated in a report documenting access problems to Tibet.
The report to Congress, mandated by the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act which was signed into law by the US President Donald Trump in December last year further stated that even visits by US diplomats were “highly restricted.”
“Chinese government-designated minders followed US diplomats and officials at all times, prevented them from meeting or speaking with local contacts, interrogated them and restricted their movement in these areas,” the report added.
The report further stated that the total number of international journalists seeking permission to visit Tibetan areas has significantly dropped last year while China has also turned down five of the nine US requests to visit Tibet as well.
China, as expected, has condemned the State Department’s report. The US report “severely violates the basic norms governing international relations” and interfered in China’s internal affairs, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang has said in the report.
Beijing has further claimed that the report sends a “seriously wrong message to Tibetan independent and separatist forces and that it is highly detrimental to the cooperation and exchanges between the US and China.
Countering the US report, the Chinese Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman alleged that Tibet is open to people of all countries provided they abide by the Chinese laws.
“Considering special geographical and climate conditions, the Chinese government exercised certain protection and management measures over the entry by foreigners,” he added.