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REPORT: US concerned by absence of dialogue, meaningful autonomy for Tibet

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(TibetanReview.net, Jun19’22) – The United States government has on Jun 15 expressed concern over the lack of meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people under the People’s Republic of China and the absence of dialogue between the two sides to achieve a settlement for this purpose while outlining its own efforts towards it over the period of May 1, 2021 to Apr 30, 2022.

The Joe Biden administration’s second Tibet Negotiations Report to the US Congress – mandated by the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 and the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 – emphasized the need for a negotiated solution on Tibet and reiterated the American policy of supporting negotiations. It said the United States “believes the PRC government must address these concerns to create conditions for a sustainable settlement, which is essential to the long-term stability of the region.”

The report said the United States “remains concerned by the lack of meaningful autonomy for Tibetans within China, ongoing abuses of the human rights of Tibetans in China, and efforts by PRC authorities to eliminate the distinct religious, linguistic, and cultural identity of Tibetans.”

It said that given the gravity of the situation in Tibet, bringing China back to the negotiating table must be a top priority in China-US relations.

The US efforts made during the current reporting period were stated to include the appointment of US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Uzra Zeya and her meetings with Central Tibetan Administration officials as well as with the International Campaign for Tibet and other Tibet-related entities.

Senior US officials were stated to have regularly “called public attention to China’s abuses of the human rights of Tibetans, including their right to freedom of religion or belief.”

However, the report did not refer to the raising of Tibet with their Chinese counterparts by President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s, noted Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said Jun 15.

It noted that the White House had said in a statement that during his virtual meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Nov 15, 2021, “President Biden raised concerns about the PRC’s practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, as well as human rights more broadly.” Similarly, the State Department had issued a statement on Oct 31, 2021 saying Blinken raised Tibet with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Rome.

However, the Tibet advocacy group felt that the United States administration must fully execute the mandate of the relevant laws and bring to bear all possible avenues of diplomacy for achieving a settlement on the Tibet issue.

It pointed out: : “Under the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, the President and Secretary of State must encourage the government of the People’s Republic of China to enter into a dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, leading to a negotiated agreement on Tibet. Subsequently, the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 strengthened this by asserting that the dialogue should be ‘without pre-conditions,’ and that the administration ‘should coordinate with other governments in multilateral efforts toward this goal’.”

ICT also expressed disappointment over the fact that the report included language describing Tibet as a part of the PRC. It pointed out that Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., had previously applauded the removal of this language from the 2021 State Department Human Rights report, describing the language as “gratuitous.”

President George W. Bush delivered the first presidential report to Congress on the status of Tibet negotiations in 2003. In it, he maintained that lack of resolution of the Tibetan problem will be a stumbling block to fuller political and economic engagement between the United States and China. Subsequently, he delegated to the Secretary of State the submission of such annual reports, noted the ICT statement.

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