China hits back with visa bans against US officials behind new Tibet policy act



China on December 22 said it would impose reciprocal measures against unnamed American officials and their family members who were behind a legislation passed by the US Congress on Tibet.

The US Congress has approved a USD 900-billion COVID-19 relief package late on Monday, along with USD 1.4 trillion of regular government funding, that also includes some acts regarding Tibet and Taiwan, and clauses relating to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The act directs the US government to issue economic and visa sanctions against any Chinese official who interferes with the Dalai Lama’s succession.

The bill also prohibits China from establishing any new consulates in the US until Washington is granted its own diplomatic outpost in Tibet, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

Reacting angrily to the new legislation on Tibet, the Chinese Foreign Ministry called on US President Donald Trump not to sign it into law.

“Tibet, Taiwan, and Hong Kong affairs bear on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They are purely China’s internal affairs that brook no foreign interference,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing here while responding to questions on the new US legislation.

"China has taken reciprocal countermeasures against the US individuals and their family members who are primarily responsible for recent interference in China’s internal affairs," Wang said. He, however, did not specify who or how many people were affected.

He said the Chinese government is firmly determined to safeguard China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests.

The White House has indicated that President Trump will sign the bill into law, the Post report said.

The China-US relations reached the worst phase this year with sharpening disputes between the two countries over human rights, the coronavirus pandemic, trade, technology, Taiwan and a host of other issues. (PTI)