The US has announced new visa bans on senior Chinese officials involved in restricting access to foreigners to the sensitive region of Tibet and reaffirmed its support for “meaningful autonomy” for Tibetans, opening another point of friction amid tense relations between Washington and Beijing.
According to a news agency report, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was taking action against an unspecified number of Chinese officials, including from the ruling Communist Party, under a US law that calls on China to let Americans visit Tibet.
“Today I announced visa restrictions on PRC (Peoples Republic of China) officials involved in restricting foreigners’ access to Tibet. We will continue to seek reciprocity in our relationship,” Pompeo tweeted .
Today I announced visa restrictions on PRC officials involved in restricting foreigners’ access to Tibet. We will continue to seek reciprocity in our relationship.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 7, 2020
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 Chinese officials and other citizens enjoy far greater access to the United States, he said in a statement.
As such, Pompeo said he is announcing visa restrictions on Chinese 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.
The Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump in December 2018. It calls for denying access to the US for Chinese officials known to be involved in restricting visits to Tibet.