To punish Beijing for its role in assimilating Tibetan youngsters into Chinese society, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that some Chinese officials will be subject to visa restrictions.
Blinken called on the People’s Republic of China to stop forcing Tibetan students into boarding schools administered by the government and to discontinue harsh assimilation programs in Tibet and throughout the country.
He continued by saying that the goal of such oppressive tactics is to eradicate the Tibetan language, culture, and religion from the next generation of Tibetans.
The timing of the measure, just days before US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s high-profile visit, infuriated Beijing. The “illegal” sanctions imposed by Washington are a “grave move” that meddle with China’s domestic affairs, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday. What we’re hearing is, “We firmly oppose and strongly condemn it,” he stated.
The State Department did not identify any officials in its news statement.
On Monday, the United States eased sanctions on 27 Chinese firms and organizations, an apparent olive gesture ahead of Raimondo’s visit to Beijing from August 27-30.
In February, a group of United Nations experts reported that the Chinese government’s efforts to integrate the Tibetan people via a residential school system had harmed the lives of roughly a million youngsters from the Tibetan minority. The results were criticized by China.
Tibetan freedom advocates hailed Blinken’s decision. “China’s unconscionable separation of Tibetan children from their families cannot be left unchecked,” said Tencho Gyatso, head of the International Campaign for Tibet in Washington, DC. That “it shows the depths of Beijing’s plan to eliminate the Tibetan way of life and turn Tibetans into loyal followers” of the Chinese Communist Party.