(TibetanReview.net, Dec23’20) – Referring to its provision relating to Tibet, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, China said it was “resolutely opposes” to the passing by the US Congress on Dec 21 of its coronavirus relief legislation. The long-pending nearly 6,000-page omnibus spending bill, passed with overwhelming majority votes in both the House and the Senate, was expected to be signed into law by President Donald Trump.
But Trump has on Dec 22 asked for changes to the bill, leaving the future of the $1.4 trillion in federal spending for fiscal 2021 and the $900 billion in stimulus spending in question.
“I’m asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2000 or $4000 per couple,” Trump has said in a video released on Twitter. “I’m also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items in this legislation or to send me a suitable bill.”
Trump has also complained about money provided for foreign countries, the Smithsonian Institution and fish breeding, among other spending that is in the part of the legislation to fund the US government.
He has not explicitly threatened to veto the bill, but said he was dissatisfied with its final state.
The spending bill included the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2020 and the Tibetan Policy and Support Act.
Trump, who will leave office on Jan 20 when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in, did not use the word “veto” in his statement.
The 92-6 vote in the Senate and the 359-53 vote in the House both are well over the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto, though some Republicans might balk at overriding a veto if Trump used that power, noted a Reuters report Dec 23.
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The bill’s Tibet section not only demands that Beijing grant Washington a US consulate in Tibet and paves the way for sanctions against Chinese officials who interfere in the succession of the Dalai Lama but also allocates funds for Tibet undertakings.
These included $1 million for Water resources in Tibet for the next four years, $8 million per year for the next four years for Tibetan refugees, along with $4 million for the Tibetan government, noted a www1.cbn.com/cbnnews report Dec 22.
Allocations for foreign countries run into billions, including $700 million for Sudan.
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Raising objections to the spending and stimulus legislation, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin has said at a press conference, “Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong affairs bear on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They are purely China’s internal affairs that brook no foreign interference.”
“We urge the US side to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, and not to sign into law or implement negative content and clauses in relation to China in relevant acts, so as not to further harm bilateral cooperation and the overall situation of China-US relations,” China’s official Xinhua news agency Dec 22 quoted Wang as saying.
China also said it would impose reciprocal measures against unnamed American officials and their family members who were behind a legislation passed by the US Congress on Tibet, reported the PTI news agency Dec 22.
“China has taken reciprocal countermeasures against the US individuals and their family members who are primarily responsible for recent interference in China’s internal affairs,” Wang was quoted as saying. He has, however, not specified who or how many people were affected.
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Wang has also objected to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement Dec 21 that Washington was imposing additional visa restrictions on more Chinese officials over human rights abuses.
Earlier this month, the US had announced visa restrictions on Chinese officials in the United Front Work Department as well as sanctions against 14 vice-chairpersons of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress.
This year, visa restrictions and financial sanctions were applied to CCP (Chinese Communist Party) officials “involved in the horrific abuses taking place in Xinjiang, restrictions on access to Tibet, and the destruction of Hong Kong’s promised autonomy,” PTI quoted Pompeo as saying Dec 21.
“Today’s action creates additional restrictions applicable to all CCP officials engaged in such repressive activities, no matter their location,” he was quoted as saying.