DHARAMSALA, 8 July: The US has declared that it will restrict visas for Chinese officials as it called out China for human rights abuses in occupied Tibet and for obstructing the US diplomats, journalists and tourists from travelling to the region.
“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,” US Secretary of state Mike Pompeo has stated according to media reports.
Though the top US diplomat has stopped short of naming and disclosing the number of Chinese officials who will be affected by the move, he has made it clear that the US remains committed to supporting “meaningful autonomy” for Tibetans and respect for their fundamental human rights.
It is understood that the measure was taken in accordance with the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018 (H.R. 1872).
H.R. 1872 is a bipartisan bill that calls for the denial of access to the United States for Chinese officials who design and implement travel restrictions on American journalists, diplomats and citizens from entering Tibet which was unanimously passed by both the House and the Senate of the US.
The bill was signed into law by the US President Donald Trump on 19 Dec 2018.
“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 has added.
The US also implemented visa restrictions on officials responsible for the Hong Kong crackdown last month.
Pompeo has described the new security law China has imposed on Hong Kong as an “affront to all nations.”