New State Dept. report shows US is serious about ending isolation of Tibet for Americans

March 25, 2019

A new State Department report denouncing China for “systematically” impeding Americans’ travel to Tibet shows the US government is serious about implementing the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act. The report also clearly shows that the widespread discrimination, and in some cases amounting almost to harassment, perpetrated by Beijing against Americans to enforce the complete isolation of Tibet from the outside world, won’t be accepted any longer in Washington.

The report, released March 25, 2019, documents outrageous attempts by Chinese authorities to keep Americans out of Tibet in 2018, including repeatedly denying requests to visit from the US ambassador and other US officials, directly threatening to expel journalists and cruelly preventing Tibetan-Americans from seeing their homeland, which has been in the grips of a brutal Chinese occupation for the past 60 years.

The report is the first significant outcome of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 19, 2018 and takes aim at China’s double standard of denying US diplomats, reporters and tourists entry to the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas under Chinese control even though Chinese bureaucrats, state media and ordinary citizens are free to travel throughout the US.

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Access Denied: new US legislation and the lockdown in Tibet

An ICT special report update

In December 2018, the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act (RATA) became the first major legislation on Tibet signed into law in the US since the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002.

The landmark, bipartisan legislation is an important step toward holding China accountable for restricting access to Tibet. It seeks to challenge the difficulties faced by US diplomats, NGO workers, journalists reporting on human rights abuses and others when they try to enter the isolated and oppressed region. The act does so by denying entry to the US for Chinese officials who are involved in formulating the policies that prohibit American citizens from entering Tibet.

The 90-day period following the adoption of the act on December 19, 2018, during which the US State Department is required to assess Americans’ level of access to Tibet, coincides with a lockdown of Tibet this March, a month of sensitive anniversaries, when foreigners are banned from the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).



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