Tuesday, November 12, 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, BeijingĀ  :
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

Jordan retakes lands leased by Israel in 1994 peace accord

Jordan retakes lands leased by Israel in 1994 peace accord

AP, Amman :Jordan's King announced Sunday that his country is retaking "full sovereignty" over two pieces of land leased by Israel, reflecting the cool relations between the neighboring countries as

Divisions rife as Germany marks 30 years since Berlin Wall fell

Divisions rife as Germany marks 30 years since Berlin Wall fell

AFP, Berlin :Germany on Saturday marks 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall that ushered in the end of communism and national reunification, as the Western alliance that

Pompeo slams Iran 'intimidation' of IAEA inspector as 'outrageous'

Pompeo slams Iran 'intimidation' of IAEA inspector as 'outrageous'

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday slammed Tehran's treatment of an inspector with the UN's nuclear watchdog agency last week as "an outrageous and unwarranted act of intimidation."The

Iranian beauty queen wins asylum in Philippines

Iranian beauty queen wins asylum in Philippines

AFP, Manila :An Iranian beauty queen sought by Tehran on criminal charges has been granted political asylum in the Philippines, an official said Friday, ending a three-week standoff at Manila

Hundreds of Indian Sikhs begin historic crossing into Pakistan

Hundreds of Indian Sikhs begin historic crossing into Pakistan

AFP, Dera Baba Nanak :The first of hundreds of Indian Sikh pilgrims began a historic pilgrimage to Pakistan on Saturday, crossing through a white gate to reach one of their

UN experts call Morsi's death in Egypt 'arbitrary killing'

UN experts call Morsi's death in Egypt 'arbitrary killing'

AFP, Geneva :An independent panel of United Nations experts said Friday the death of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in June could amount to "a state-sanctioned arbitrary killing"."Morsi was held

NASA unveils its first electric airplane - a work in progress

NASA unveils its first electric airplane - a work in progress

Reuters, California :NASA, most prominent for its many Florida-launched exploits into space, showcased an early version of its first all-electric experimental aircraft, the X-57 "Maxwell," on Friday at its lesser-known

News In Brief

Five Mexican police officers killed in ambushAFP, MexicoAt least five police officers were killed after they were ambushed in a small community nestled in the highlands of the state of

Ukraine foes to pull back troops ahead of Russia summit

Ukraine foes to pull back troops ahead of Russia summit

AFP, Ukraine :Ukraine's army and Kremlin-backed separatists are set Friday to complete the last phase of a troop pullback in the war-torn east in a key step towards a

Saudi King hosts CIA chief after spying on Twitter users charges

Saudi King hosts CIA chief after spying on Twitter users charges

AFP, Riyadh :Saudi Arabia's King Salman hosted the Central Intelligence Agency's director Thursday, state media said, after three people were charged in the United States with spying on Twitter