(TibetanReview.net, Dec20, 2017) – It now appears that US Senator Steve Daines hosted a Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) delegation from Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) as a return of favour for a business deal for his state of Montana to export cattle products worth at least $200 million through the China e-commerce giant JD.com.
The delegation, led by Danzeng Langjie, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the People’s Congress of the TAR, wrapped up a five-day visit to the United States with a meeting with Senators Daines and John Barrasso as well as Congressmen Rick Larsen and Darin LaHood on Dec 5, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency.
Earlier this year, Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai had brought commerce officials to Montana to meet with farm and ranch groups. That meeting in September launched talks that lead to a beef sale, noted columnist Josh Rogin in an opinion piece published Dec 17 in the Washington Post. The columnist said Daines’s hosting of the delegation was worth at least $200 million in Montana-sourced cattle the JD.com agreed to purchase.
Under the beef agreement announced in November, Montana ranchers will supply $200 million worth of Montana-sourced beef to JD.com beginning in Jan 2018 and continuing through 2020, reported billingsgazette.com Dec 19. The report added that Chinese investors will also place an additional $100 million in Montana feedlots and a packing plant.
He did note, however, that there was no evidence of any quid pro quo or illegal behavior by Daines. Nevertheless, Rogin accused Daines of protecting China from accountability on human rights issues and prolonging the suffering of Tibetans.
But the Senator’s communications director Marcie Kinzel has pointed out that the Congressional Executive Commission on China, of which Daines is a member, has identified Chinese human rights violations in Tibet annually.
Whatever be the case, China’s official chinadaily.com.cn said Dec 7 that the delegation had invited the US lawmakers, including Daines, to visit Tibet to no doubt get them to make a public praise of the developments taking place there under its rule. “Seeing is believing. We’ve extended our invitation to ask more senators and representatives to visit Tibet, and they said they are very interested in going to the region to see for themselves the changes and achievements in Tibet,” Danzeng was quoted as saying.
A previously US delegation visit to Tibet led by former House Speaker and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi did not lead to the praise China looked for because its members had background knowledge of the underlying situation there.