On Wednesday, July 8, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced that it will impose visa restrictions on U.S. citizens in response to a similar measure taken by the United States against CCP officials involved in human rights abuses against the people of Tibet.

According to Reuters, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he would restrict visas for those CCP officials engaged in obstructing travel to Tibet by U.S. journalists, diplomats, and tourists in connection with human rights abuses.

The determinations made by both the CCP and the U.S. government have come amid simmering tensions between the two.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, The United States “should stop going further down the wrong path to avoid further harming China–U.S. relations and communication and cooperation between the two countries.”

The problem in question goes back to 1950 when the CCP sent troops under the supposed idea of establishing a ‘peaceful liberation’ in the remote region even though it has been pressing it with an iron fist.

Zhao said Beijing was not willing allow foreign interference in Tibetan affairs, and at the same time, justified the CCP’s repressive action against the Tibetan population by claiming that it was taking “some protective measures” against visitors because of Tibet’s geography and climate.

According to the Voice of America, Beijing has banned journalists and foreigners from visiting Tibet since 2008 when the region saw an increase in self-immolation protests. So far, the CCP has rejected the U.S.’s requests to establish a consulate in the regional capital Lhasa.

The Tibetan government-in-exile, also known as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), two weeks ago, requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to conduct a review of human rights violations by the CCP in Tibet, as well as in other regions.

Lobsang Sangay, president of the CTA said in a statement, “We strongly urge the UNHRC and the member states to hold a special session to evaluate the human rights violations being carried out by China [CCP], and to establish a country mandate of UN Special Rapporteur on China to monitor, analyze, and report annually on the human rights situation in Tibet and other occupied regions.”

Sangay said the CCP had been subjugating the Tibetan people for decades, calling their relationship with the region a “cultural genocide.”

The “tortures, enforced disappearances, and destructions of monasteries carried out by China [the CCP] against Tibetans were acts of crimes against humanity, and did not fall short of being categorized as ‘cultural genocide,'” Sangay added.

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