By Tenzin Dharpo
Cui Tiankai, China's ambassador to the United States. Photo- KSDK.com
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 9: The Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai has said that American journalists, students and scholars are denied entry into Tibet due to their supposed incapacity to handle “high altitude and tough climate”.
Ambassador Tiankai while speaking at an interview with US broadcaster NPR’s Morning Edition on October 3 said, “We are open to American students, professors, journalists or scholars. Of course, for some other places like Tibet because it's very high altitude and the climate could be very tough there. Not everybody could quickly get used to such climate and natural conditions.”
The Ambassador further said that unregulated access to Tibet would put inordinate pressure on the environment. He said, “We have to protect the local environment. We should have some limit on the number of people outside visitors every year. Otherwise the burden on the environment will be too heavy.”
The remarks by the diplomat has since invoked skepticism and even criticism for its poor attempt to deflect questions.
The development comes days after the United States House of Representatives passed Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, a bill to restrict Chinese diplomats, journalists and scholars access into United States in the face of China’s restriction of American counterparts to enter Tibet.
The bill received bipartisan and unanimous backing in the US house of representative. A senate version of the bill is sponsored and is expected to gain support from US Senators.
Human rights group Freedom House in its annual report said that gaining access to Tibet is more difficult than entering the reclusive hermit nation of North Korea.