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China lashes out at US over Tibet report, says stop interfering

China has objected to a US State Department report questioning Beijing over restrictions it has imposed on American officials from visiting Tibet.

world Updated: Mar 26, 2019 16:18 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
China,US,Tibet
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang rejected a US State Department report pointing out that China has not allowed free access to Tibet to its officials including envoy to the country.(Twitter)

China on Tuesday strongly criticised a US State Department report that denounced Beijing for “systematically” obstructing Americans including Washington’s envoy from travelling to Tibet.

“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,” said the report to Congress released on March 25.

Even visits by US diplomats were “highly restricted”, it said.

“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,” it said.

The State Department said that China last year rejected five of the nine US requests to visit Tibet, including one by Ambassador Terry Branstad.

The AFP news agency reported that the State Department documented access problems to the Himalayan region in a report to Congress mandated by the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, passed with bipartisan support in December.

The law, which notes that no US region is prohibited, requires the US by the end of this year to deny visas to Chinese officials in charge of implementing the policy.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang, criticised the report in strong words, calling it interference in China’s internal affairs.

“This act severely violates the basic norms governing international relations, interferes in China’s internal affairs send a seriously wrong message to Tibetan independent and separatist forces. It is highly detrimental to our cooperation and exchanges,” Geng said.

“We oppose that,” Geng added.

“This so-called report is full bias and totally ignoring the facts. We (will) never accept that. I want to stress that Tibetan affairs are purely China’s internal affairs and allow no interference from foreign countries.”

Geng said China has the right to manage visits to Tibet because of geographical and climatic conditions.

“China’s Tibet is open to people of all countries. Yet considering special geographical and climate conditions, the Chinese government exercises certain protection and management measures over the entry by foreigners. This is totally necessary…Our position will never change,” he said.

“We welcome foreigners to visit Tibet. But the condition is that they have to abide by Chinese laws and regulations and go through relevant procedures. We urge the US to stop such wrongdoing and try to remove the negative effects. We urge the US side to stop using Tibet related issues to interfere in our internal affairs, lest it should harm bilateral relations and our cooperation,” he said.

First Published: Mar 26, 2019 15:55 IST