US pressures China over access to Tibet as they impose new visa restrictions on Chinese citizens

US pressures China over access to Tibet as they impose new visa restrictions on Chinese citizens

On Tuesday June 7th, the United States announced a new visa ban that would be place on any Chinese governmental officials that have been involved in the obstruction of travel of foreigners to Tibet.

Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, released a press statement reaffirming the state’s support towards the autonomy of Tibet and denounced China for limiting foreigners’ access into the region.

“I am announcing visa restrictions on PRC government and Chinese Communist Party officials determined to be “substantially involved in the formulation or execution of policies related to access for foreigners to Tibetan areas,” pursuant to the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018” said Pompeo.

The secretary of state revealed that these impediments have mainly affected US diplomats, officials, journalists and tourists. Pompeo emphasized the importance of maintaining close contact with Tibet in order to ensure regional stability and stated that the US’s involvement in the area was crucial to prevent “the PRC’s human rights abuses there” and aid in the “environmental degradation” in the region.

He also stated that China has not been reciprocating the free access the US government has been granting to thousands of Chinese citizens to enter the western country by stating that “PRC officials and other citizens enjoy far greater access to the United States.”

The press release concluded with the US restating their commitment to continue contributing to “the sustainable economic development, environmental conservation, and humanitarian conditions” of the region and urged the Chinese government to lift all of the restrictions that they have instilled.

This announcement was made in a time a rising tension between the two superpowers. Despite several meeting organized in the past few weeks in attempts to mend their relationship, their ties continue to deteriorate. Constant Disagreement towards the measures each nation has been implementing has been the primary source of hostility. A recent example of this was the US’s public opposition towards the Chinese National Security law that was imposed on Hong Kong. Both China and the United States adopted legislations and made decisions to pressure and coerce the other to reconsider. This constant push and pull between both nations has only drifted them further apart.

Sophie Velloso

Sophie Velloso is studying International Relations at Richmond the American International University in London. She is focusing her studies in the areas of transnational public affairs. She has an interest in geopolitics, international security, and sustainable development.