(TibetanReview.net, May21’19) – China has made it clear May 20 that it expected the US ambassador to conform to its propaganda claim that all was well in Tibet under its rule as it permitted the latter to undertake a rare, week-long tour of Qinghai Province and Tibet Autonomous Region over May 19-25. The Chinese response came after the US Embassy in China said in a statement that the visit was a chance to raise long-standing concerns about restrictions on religious freedoms and preservation of Tibetan culture and language.
The permit for ambassador Terry Branstad’s visit came after the passage of a Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act by the US Congress late last year, decrying China for restricting access to Tibet for US officials and citizens while availing free travel to the US for its officials and citizens. The Act requires the US to deny visas to Chinese officials in charge of implementing policies that restrict access to Tibet for foreigners, especially US officials, journalists and other citizens.
“Ambassador Terry Branstad is welcome to visit Tibet and see for himself the enormous changes that have taken place in Tibet’s socio-economic development and local people’s work and life since the peaceful liberation of Tibet over 60 years ago, by which he may have a deeper understanding of the Tibetan Autonomous Region,” China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang told a Regular Press Conference on May 20.
He, however, expected Ambassador Branstad to visit Tibet “with an objective attitude and the respect to facts and make his own unbiased observation, especially in terms of cultural preservation, religious belief and historical inheritance in Tibet.”
He wanted “the US side (to) come to a fact-based conclusion rather than being misled or disturbed by long-standing hearsay and rumors,” meaning the government of China did not want to hear any negative report on the situation in Tibet.
Branstad’s is the first visit to a Tibetan region by the US ambassador in Beijing since May 2015. It came after a request for a visit made by him last year was rejected.