Tuesday, February 25, 2020 | ePaper

US Ambassador raises concerns during rare Tibet visit

  • Print


US Embassy in Beijing, U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, left, speaks with a monk at the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa in western China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

AP, Beijing  :
The U.S. Ambassador to China urged Beijing to engage in substantive dialogue with exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama during a visit to the Himalayan region over the past week, the U.S. Embassy said Saturday.
Terry Branstad also "expressed concerns regarding the Chinese government's interference in Tibetan Buddhists' freedom to organize and practice their religion," an embassy statement said.
"He encouraged the Chinese government to engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, to seek a settlement that resolves differences," it said.
Branstad also raised long-standing concerns about the lack of consistent access to the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The rare visit to the TAR and neighboring Qinghai province ran from Sunday through Saturday.
Hosted by the Tibet Autonomous Region government, Branstad was given access to important religious and cultural sites, including the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Norbulingka, and Sera Monastery in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. He also met with senior Tibetan religious and cultural leaders, the embassy said.
China tightly restricts access to Tibet by foreigners, especially journalists and diplomats. In response to those restrictions, the U.S. Congress last year passed an act that would deny entry to the United States for those involved in formulating or enforcing such policies.
There was no immediate response from Beijing, although Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang last week said China welcomed Branstad to witness the "earth-shaking changes in the people's production and life since Tibet's peaceful liberation more than 60 years ago."
"I hope that this visit to Tibet can help Ambassador Branstad make a conclusion without prejudice in the spirit of respecting the facts ... instead of being confused and disturbed by some long-standing hearsay and defamatory speeches," Lu said at a regularly scheduled briefing.
China says Tibet has been part of its territory for centuries, but many Tibetans say they were effectively an independent nation for most of that time. Beijing's control was most recently asserted when the Communist Party's military wing, the People's Liberation Army, invaded the region in 1950.
The Dalai Lama fled to India amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959 and calls for genuine autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule. Beijing labels the 83-year-old cleric a dangerous separatist, has refused contacts with his representatives for more than a decade and objects strongly to any meetings between him and foreign politicians.
In recent years there has been a significant tightening of control over Tibetan Buddhism, use of the Tibetan language and traditional cultural expression. Following anti-government protests in 2008, Beijing imposed a policy of "grid policing" that substantially reduces travel and social life for Tibetans, even while China ramps up domestic tourism in the region.
Those methods have been subsequently imposed in the neighboring region of Xinjiang, where an estimated 1 million members of its native Muslim ethnic groups have been confined to detention centers.

More News For this Category

Indian authorities scramble to give Trump a mega-rally

Indian authorities scramble to give Trump a mega-rally

AP, Ahmedabad : The sun-baked city of Ahmedabad was jostling with activity Sunday as workers cleaned roads, planted flowers and hoisted hundreds of billboards featuring President Donald Trump, a day ahead

Pope appears to give thumbs down to Trump's Mideast peace plan

Pope appears to give thumbs down to Trump's Mideast peace plan

Reuters, Bari, Italy  :Pope Francis on Sunday warned against "inequitable solutions" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to

Vietnamese dissident monk who was a Nobel Prize nominee dies at 93

Vietnamese dissident monk who was a Nobel Prize nominee dies at 93

AFP :Thich Quang Do, a dissident Buddhist monk who has effectively been under house arrest since 2003 and was nominated multiple times for the Nobel Peace Prize, has died aged

UN chief urges new transit point for aid to Syria

UN chief urges new transit point for aid to Syria

AFP, United Nations :UN Secretary- General Antonio Guterres has urged the Security Council to authorize a new passage point on the Turkish border to allow humanitarian aid to reach the

Trump congratulates Democrat Bernie Sanders for Nevada caucuses win

Trump congratulates Democrat Bernie Sanders for Nevada caucuses win

AFP, Las Vegas :Progressive firebrand Bernie Sanders claimed a decisive victory Saturday in the Nevada caucuses, solidifying his front-runner status in the race to choose the Democratic nominee who faces

News In Brief

Slovak PM Pellegrini cancels schedule due to illnessReuters, PragueSlovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini cancelled his agenda because of sudden illness, his office said on Sunday, just one week ahead of

Sanders condemns Russian interference in 2020 elections

Sanders condemns Russian interference in 2020 elections

Agencies :Bernie Sanders on Friday condemned Russian interference in the 2020 election, telling Russia President Vladimir Putin that "if elected president, trust me, you are not going to be interfering

China's President  expresses  thanks to Bill Gates help for tackling virus epidemic

China's President expresses thanks to Bill Gates help for tackling virus epidemic

AFP, Beijing :Chinese President Xi Jinping has written a letter expressing thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the organisation's "generosity" and support tackling a deadly virus epidemic,

South Sudan set to swear in former rebel leader as first vice president

South Sudan set to swear in former rebel leader as first vice president

Reuters, Juba :South Sudan's President Salva Kiir is due to swear in former rebel leader Riek Machar as his first vice president on Saturday after the two men agreed to

Partial truce begins in Afghanistan, boosting peace hopes

Partial truce begins in Afghanistan, boosting peace hopes

AFP, Kabul :Afghans woke up to a week-long partial truce Saturday after the Taliban, the US and local forces all agreed to a lull that could be a major turning