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China claims US ambassador was positive about its Tibet development work

U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad and his wife, Christine, pose in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa in western China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, May 22, 2019. (Photo courtesy: AP)

(TibetanReview.net, May29’19) – China has on May 28 sought to salvage a bit of its reputation from US Ambassador Terry Branstad’s visit to Tibet – when the latter called for religious freedom and talks to resolve the Tibet issue – by pointing out that he had made positive remarks on the economic and social development in Tibet. However, none of the major international newswire reports have attributed any such remark to Mr Branstad.

“While expressing gratitude to the cordial hospitality extended to him in Tibet, Ambassador Branstad has made positive comments on its economic and social development, calling the trip a boost to the US side’s understanding about Tibet,” China’s official Xinhua news agency May 28 quoted the county’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang as saying at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

The Chinese side provided the US side with a detailed introduction about Chinese government’s policies on ethnic and religious affairs, the economic and social development of Tibet, Lu was cited as saying.

“The ambassador has also been briefed about the central government’s policies concerning contact and dialogue with the 14th Dalai Lama, as well as foreigners’ access to Tibet,” Lu was further quoted as saying.

Those policies postulate that the Dalai Lama refrain from talking about any Tibet issue on the presumption that this amounts to advocating separatism.

Besides, Lu has said the Chinese side also reiterated firm opposition to any foreign interference in Tibet-related affairs and in China’s internal affairs.

Earlier, China’s official globaltimes.cn May 26 shouted down Branstad’s called for substantive dialogue on Tibet with the Dalai Lama, calling it an interference in China’s internal affairs.

Referring to the series of ten rounds of talks held between envoys of the Dalai Lama and Chinese party and government officials from 2002 to 2010, the report quoted Zhu Weiqun, former head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, as saying the Dalai Lama just “refused to correct his mistake and even incited and organized multiple violent and self-burning incidents in Tibet to damage the stability and development of the region…This is why we suspended dialogue with him.”

Zhu had said the only purpose of the talk was to make the Dalai Lama abandon separatism.

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