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International Relations

USA, China Visa Curbs Over Tibet Issue

  • 10 Jul 2020
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, China has announced visa restrictions on people from the USA for behaving badly on Tibet-related issues.


  • Tibet is a region on the Tibetan Plateau in Asia, spanning about 2.4 million km2– nearly a quarter of China’s territory.
  • It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups.
  • Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 4,900 metres. The highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest, Earth’s highest mountain, rising 8,848 m above sea level.

Key Points

  • Background:
    • China insists Tibet has been part of its territory for centuries. Also, it has barred foreign journalists from visiting Tibet since 2008, when the region experienced a wave of protests.
      • From 1912 until the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, no Chinese government exercised control over what is today China’s Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
      • Many Tibetans insist they were essentially independent for most of that time and have protested what they regard as China's rule imposed after the People's Liberation Army occupied TAR in 1950.
      • Since the 1959 Uprising, the central government of China has been steadily tightening its grip on Tibet.
      • The 14th Dalai Lama, continues to head the Tibetan government-in-exile from McLeod Ganj, a suburb of Dharamsala, India which coordinates political activities for Tibetans in India.
    • China has also not responded to USA’s requests to set up a consulate in the regional capital Lhasa.
    • The access to tibetan region is vital to keep track of human as well as environmental abuses by China. Also, stability of the region is important as it is the source for major rivers of Asia supporting civilisationa for the time immemorial.
  • USA’s Stand:
    • China has continued systematically to obstruct travel to the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas by USA diplomats and other officials, journalists, and tourists, while Chinese officials and other citizens enjoy far greater access to the United States.
    • USA announced visa restrictions on Chinese 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.
      • The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018 promotes access for diplomats, officials, journalists and others from the United States to China's Tibetan areas.
    • Furthermore, the USA has also committed to work to advance the sustainable economic development, environmental conservation, and humanitarian conditions of Tibetan communities within China and abroad.
    • The USA’s funding for the Tibetan issues for the fiscal year 2021 has been proposed to be $17 million and $1 million for the Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues.
  • China’s Stand:
    • China has expressed firm opposition to the USA’s visa restriction move and urged the USA to immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs through Tibet-related issues.
    • China has also suggested the USA to avoid further harming China-USA relation, communication and cooperation between the two countries.

Way Forward

  • China-USA relations have been deteriorating over a number of issues but the world needs peace and collaborative efforts during this wave of pandemic .
  • Thus both the countries need to adopt ways like conciliation, diplomatic talks to create and maintain peace between two countries.

Source: TH

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