(TibetanReview.net, Jul18, 2014) –US Congressman Joe Pitts has on Jul 15 called on China to live up to its oft repeated claim that Tibet is open to all visitors from abroad. “This is a matter of basic fairness and is critical to ensuring that human rights are protected in Tibet,” he has said while speaking on the floor of the US Congress.
The Republican co-sponsor of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2014, introduced on Jun 12, has said, “The current regime says that Tibet is open to all visitors, but the truth is that actual access is highly restricted and is subject to arbitrary closures. It is difficult for tourists to access the region, and it is almost impossible for journalists and diplomats to get in to report on conditions.”
Speaking on the reciprocity issue, Pitts has said, “When Chinese officials get visas to the US, they are not kept out of certain States or cities. They are free to travel our Nation, as are Chinese tourists and reporters. It is time that the Chinese Government lives up to its word and allows access to Tibet, not only for Americans, but for the many religious pilgrims from nations around the world.”
He has also explained why China does not live up to its propaganda rhetoric about Tibet being open to visitors from abroad. “For over five decades now, the Chinese Communist Party has ruled Tibet harshly and has treated the Tibetan people with great disdain.”
The reciprocal access bill seeks to promote access to “Tibetan areas of China” for US officials, journalists, and average citizen. It also calls for restricting access to America for those Chinese officials responsible for blocking travel to Tibet. The bill’s other co-sponsor was Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern.