US President Joe Biden has included Tibet among issues of human rights he raised in his meeting Nov 16 with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping. However, he has been urged to go further to push China for dialogue on the settlement of the decades-long Tibet issue, as mandated by relevant US laws.
“President Biden underscored the universality of human rights and the responsibility of all nations to respect their international human rights commitments. He raised concerns regarding PRC human rights abuses, including in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong,” said a White House readout on the meeting.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit of the group’s 21 member-countries which took place over Nov 15-17 in San Francisco.
Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet welcomed the confirmation that Tibet was raised during the meeting but made it clear that more needed to be done.
Tibetans, Uyghurs and many other groups, including the Chinese people themselves, have been denied the freedom to raise their grievances and seek redress from the Chinese government. Xi and his officials must hear their voices too, and the Biden administration has an opportunity to push them to listen, it said in a statement Nov 16.
In particular, the group wanted President Biden to press Beijing to return to direct dialogue with representatives of the Tibetan people, as he had promised during his 2020 campaign.
The group has pointed out that US law gives President Biden a legal mandate to speak up for Tibet, referring to the country’s Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 and the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020, which reaffirms the US commitment to the China-Tibet dialogue process.
The group said Biden himself had promised during his 2020 campaign to “work with our allies in pressing Beijing to return to direct dialogue with the representatives of the Tibetan people to achieve meaningful autonomy, respect for human rights, and the preservation of Tibet’s environment as well as its unique cultural, linguistic and religious traditions.”
The group has expressed regret that pro-China demonstrators had reportedly attacked Tibet activists who protested peacefully outside Xi’s meetings in San Francisco. The Chinese government and its operatives must not be allowed to intimidate or assault Tibetans on American soil, it added.