China will impose visa restrictions on U.S. personnel who exhibit egregious behavior toward Tibet, said Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson from the ministry, made the remarks after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would restrict visas for some Chinese officials because Beijing obstructs travel to Tibet by U.S. diplomats, journalists and tourists.
Zhao urged the U.S. to stop going down the wrong path to avoid impairing China-U.S. ties and cooperation, adding that China will allow no foreign interference in Tibet’s affairs.
With regard to the U.S.’s “Reciprocal Access To Tibet Act,” Zhao reiterated that Tibet-related affairs belong to China’s domestic affairs, which no country can interfere in.
Noting that China is firmly committed to opening up further to the outside world, the spokesperson said Tibet is open and has never had regulations restricting foreigners from entering.
Nearly 176,000 foreigners visited Tibet for sightseeing or business from 2015 to 2018, said Zhao, adding that the number includes 175,000 tourists, around 500 diplomats and 343 journalists.
He also pointed out that over 40 million domestic residents and foreigners visited Tibet last year, including the U.S. ambassador to China Terry Branstad, which fully shows that there is no problem for foreigners to visit Tibet.
“What I want to make clear is that in view of Tibet’s special geographical and climatic conditions, the Chinese government has taken certain measures for the management and protection of foreigners entering Tibet in accordance with laws and regulations,” the spokesperson said.
China welcomes more foreigners to visit, travel and do business in Tibet, but only if China’s laws and relevant regulations are followed and necessary procedures are fulfilled, Zhao said.