The United States announced new visa restrictions on Chinese and former Chinese officials for their involvement in what US and UN officials say is the forced assimilation of more than a million Tibetan children in state-run boarding schools.
In a statement on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this “forced policy” seeks to “eliminate the distinct linguistic, cultural and religious traditions of Tibet among young Tibetans.”
“We urge the PRC (People’s Republic of China) authorities to end forcing Tibetan children to attend government-run boarding schools and stop repressive assimilation policies, both in Tibet and throughout the rest of China,” Blinken said.
Visa restrictions under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act mean that foreign nationals cannot be granted a visa to enter the US due to the potential adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States.
A spokesperson for the US State Department declined to provide the names of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials affected by the visa ban, citing “individual visa records are confidential.”
The spokesperson told VOA that today’s announcement regarding visa restrictions includes current or former PRC and CCP officials believed to be responsible for, or engaged in policies or actions aimed at persecuting religious and spiritual practices, members of ethnic groups, dissidents, human rights defenders human beings, journalists, labor activists, civil society activists, and peaceful protesters in the PRC.
China has maintained control of Tibet since 1951, having taken over the territory through the deployment of troops in what it calls a “peaceful liberation.”
Chinese officials say their policy on Tibet reflects their desire to create “religious harmony, social harmony, and ethnic harmony.”
Tibetans living outside China say the Chinese government has systematically persecuted, imprisoned and killed Tibetans for decades. (lt/ka)