China on Wednesday said it will impose visa restrictions on certain individuals from the United States in response to Washington’s move to impose travel bans on officials from Beijing over their disagreement on Tibet, AFP reported.
This came a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Donald Trump administration would restrict visas for some officials as Beijing obstructs travel to the region by US diplomats, journalists and tourists. In a statement, Pompeo said the United States remained committed to supporting “meaningful autonomy” for Tibetans.
“Access to Tibetan areas is increasingly vital to regional stability, given the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] human rights abuses there, as well as Beijing’s failure to prevent environmental degradation near the headwaters of Asia’s major rivers,” Pompeo said.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian opposed the move and warned of damage to their relations. “In response to the wrong actions of the US, China has decided to impose visa restrictions on US personnel who behave badly on Tibet-related issues,” Zhao told reporters at a daily news briefing. Without giving further details, he urged the US to immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs.
China maintains that its troops “peacefully liberated” Tibet in 1951, but many Tibetans have accused the government of religious repression and eroding their culture.
The coronavirus pandemic has increased tensions between Washington and Beijing and their relations have reached their lowest point in years. US President Donald Trump has consistently pointed to Chinese culpability in failing to contain the outbreak in its early stages and accused Beijing of not being transparent about it.
Last week, Pompeo said the new security law China has imposed on Hong Kong was an affront to all nations. The US has also implemented visa restrictions on officials responsible for the Hong Kong crackdown.