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US, China spar over Tibet visa curbs

US, China spar over Tibet visa curbs

China said on Wednesday it will impose visa restrictions on US citizens who have engaged in what it called “egregious” behaviour over Tibet, in apparent retaliation against US restrictions on Chinese officials.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday the US would restrict visas for some Chinese officials because Beijing obstructs travel to Tibet by US diplomats, journalists and tourists and “human rights abuses” in the Himalayan region.

The moves come as relations between the US deteriorate over trade, technology, the coronavirus pandemic and the former British colony of Hong Kong.

The US “should stop going further down the wrong path to avoid further harming China-US relations and communication and cooperation between the two countries,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing.

China sent troops into remote, mountainous Tibet in 1950 in what it officially terms a peaceful liberation. Zhao said Beijing would not allow foreign interference in Tibetan affairs and said Beijing implements some “protective measures” on visitors due to Tibet’s geography and climate.

Pompeo said in a statement the US remained committed to supporting “meaningful autonomy” for Tibetans and respect for their fundamental human rights.

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