Tuesday, June 18, 2019 | 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

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong leaves jail, vows to join protests

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong leaves jail, vows to join protests

AFP, Hong Kong :Leading Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong walked free from prison Monday and vowed to join historic anti-government protests rocking the finance hub, as activists kept up

Vatican formally opens debate on married priests in Amazon

Vatican formally opens debate on married priests in Amazon

AP, Vatican City :The Vatican formally opened debate Monday on letting married men be ordained as priests in remote parts of the Amazon where priests are so few that Catholics

Indian doctors’ strike over violence from patients and families

Indian doctors’ strike over violence from patients and families

AFP, New Delhi :Tens of thousands of Indian doctors went on strike Monday calling for more protection against violence by patients and their families, as parliament met for the first

"Khashoggi death painful, stop exploiting case": Saudi Crown Prince

 AFP, Riyadh :Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has warned against "exploiting" the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi for political gains, in what appeared to be a veiled attack on

Pakistani blogger, activist, known for criticism of army, killed

Pakistani blogger, activist, known for criticism of army, killed

PTI, Islamabad :A 22-year-old Pakistani blogger and journalist known for criticising the country's military and the spy agency ISI was killed by a man in Islamabad, the police said today.Muhammad

News In Brief

Israel to attend US ME peace conferenceAFP, JerusalemIsrael will attend an upcoming conference on the economic aspects of Washington's peace plan aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Foreign Minister Israel

Over 40pc of newly elected Indian lawmakers facing criminal charges

Over 40pc of newly elected Indian lawmakers facing criminal charges

AP, New Delhi :India's recent national election delivered a historic victory to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party, but also exposed the influence of money, power and questionable morality

Trump in new attack on London's Mayor calls Sadiq Khan a ‘disaster’

Trump in new attack on London's Mayor calls Sadiq Khan a ‘disaster’

US President Donald Trump launched a fresh attack Saturday on London Mayor Sadiq Khan, calling for him to be replaced as soon as possible."LONDON needs a new mayor ASAP. Khan

Saudi Crown Prince lashes out at arch-rival Iran over tanker attacks

Saudi Crown Prince lashes out at arch-rival Iran over tanker attacks

AFP, Riyadh :Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused arch-rival Iran of attacks on oil tankers in a vital Gulf shipping channel, adding he "won't hesitate" to tackle any threats

Far-right seeks control of German town favoured by Hollywood

Far-right seeks control of German town favoured by Hollywood

AFP, Gorlitz :The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is battling to win the mayor's office in a bellwether election on Sunday at a town in the former East Germany