News and Views on Tibet

China allows group of diplomats to visit Tibet under strict control

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A group diplomats from 10 countries being taken on a trip to a Tibetan area in Sichuan (Photo- ICT)
A group diplomats from 10 countries being taken on a trip to a Tibetan area in Sichuan (Photo- ICT)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, June 24: China has allowed diplomats from 10 European and other countries to visit two Tibetan areas in Sichuan Province which lie outside the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) an area subject to a stricter regime of travel restrictions than any other regions in China.

ICT said that though it welcomes the interest of the countries in understanding the Tibetan people, it also remarked that visiting two places in the domestic tourist provinces provide little insight into the welfare of the Tibetan people. ICT calls on members of such delegations from other countries to be “mindful of their visits possibly being used for propagandistic means” and to raise issues of religious freedom, persecution of dissenters, and human rights defenders.

Chinese state media outlet Ngaba Daily reported that a group of 21 diplomats based in Chengdu visited Zitsa Degu and Zungchu counties in Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan on June 17 & 18. The diplomats were from Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Israel, Pakistan, Poland, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States, and the host was the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Sichuan Provincial Communist Party Committee.

The report said that the aim of the visit was to “show the positive image of the opening of Tibetan areas in Sichuan Province to the outside, and publicize the achievements of the reconstruction” after an earthquake in 2017. It was to investigate the local tourism recovery and targeted poverty alleviation after the epidemic.

ICT remarked on the irony of the venture, “Tourism and related facilities are the least of the problems that the Tibetan people face under Chinese rule.” As China still denies access to Tibet by foreign governments, except on state-sponsored, restricted tours, it claims that the government is “steadily increasing the opening up” of Tibet to the outside world.

In order to visit TAR, all foreigners including diplomats and journalists in China need to acquire a special permit which is almost always denied. Whenever it is not denied, travel in the region is controlled and allowed only through state-approved travel agencies. The US passed the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act in 2018 that requires the US State Department to issue visa sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for not granting American citizens proper access to Tibet.



7 Responses

  1. I am sure diplomats are people with four eyes and 4 ears and with a sixth sense. They can make out what is real and what is fake. So something will come out other than normal report. Most likely it will be unreported in press but action will be taken.
    You can hide a flower but not its fragrance.

  2. In my opinion these diplomats traveling to Tibet under chinese police accompaniment know very well the real situation. But the question is what they want to believe. If they are the chinese’s ass lickers just hungry for money, they believe everything they are told by the propagandists with an applause. If they are compassion minded, they know their lies …..

  3. Free movement of foreign visitors in Tibet is completely controlled. Guided tours are just for propaganda. All that glitters are made up!
    Let the world journalist into Tibet as every decent country do.

  4. Visits like this mean nothing!
    In fact it gives china the opportunity
    to say that they let diplomats visit Tibet.
    Without mentioning that the diplomats
    were under tight security,under round
    the clock surveillance and only able
    to see what the chinese want them to
    I think those diplomats should either
    be able to go where they want to go
    and speak to whoever they want to speak
    Otherwise they should not make visits under
    those circumstances!

  5. The good thing is that foreign diplomats are showing interest in Tibetan situation, but this may not help the visiting dignitaries to find out the real prevailing condition of the Tibetan people under the repressive regime. The Chinese leaders have a very sophisticated system to deceive foreign dignitaries visiting Tibet, and not show the real plight of the people. The visitors will be herded together and followed by an official guide and other members of local security agent who will monitor their movements constantly. In fact, there is very little prospect of finding the truth in such well orchestrated visit like the one we are seeing today. An area often visited by people and the foreigners is under the surveillance of CCTV and other high tech gadgets for controlling their movements.
    It is very difficult to obtain the true information about the people living in the Tibetan region.

  6. Foreign diplomats in tightly choreographed tour of Tibet is a propaganda win for China unless something positive comes out of it for Tibet.

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