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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Bill asks UK parliament to ban Chinese officials impeding free access to Tibet

Rt Hon Tim Loughton MP introducing the Bill on Reciprocal Access to Tibet in the House of Commons on 23 July 2019. (Photo courtesy: BBC)

(TibetanReview.net, Jul25’19) – A bill was submitted in the UK’s House of Commons on Jul 23, calling for the passage of a reciprocal access to Tibet Act which would bar entry to the UK for Chinese officials responsible for blocking freedom of travel to Tibet by British citizens. A similar bill adopted by the US Congress became law after it was signed by President Donald Trump in Dec 2018.

“My Bill would emulate in the UK what the US has done,” Conservative Party MP Tim Loughton, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet, has said on a video clip posted on Facebook on Jul 23, citing concerns over China’s “horrendous human rights abuses” in the Himalayan territory.

Tibet is seen as being more difficult for diplomats and especially journalists to access than even North Korea, given China’s serious concern about the real situation in it being reported as nothing like what it describes in its official propaganda, including through so-called foreign experts on the region and chosen reporters wined and dined by it to do its biddings.

Loughton has thus explained his objective for introducing the bill. “To say to China: You need to open up, we need to expose these human rights abuses. You need to treat Tibetans fairly around the world and within China itself, and if you don’t, don’t expect the people responsible for that to be able to come to the UK.”

It was not clear immediately when Loughton’s bill will come up for debate in the Parliament.

In the USA, the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018 requires the Secretary of State to identify Chinese officials responsible for excluding US citizens, including Americans of Tibetan ethnic origin, from Tibet and then ban them from entering the United States.

It also requires the State Department to provide to the Congress each year a list of US citizens blocked from entering Tibet.

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