Reciprocal Access to Tibet: Update
US State Department Report finds that the Chinese government “systematically impeded” travel to Tibetan areas by US diplomats, journalists and tourists in 2021.
Even prior to COVID 19 travel restrictions and lockdowns, travel to Tibet has been difficult. The CCP requires people interested in visiting Tibet to obtain a special visa – and routinely Tibetan-Australians as well as Australian journalists, diplomats and Parliamentarians are denied access to Tibet.
For Australian journalists, diplomats and Parliamentarians this means that it is difficult for them to travel to Tibet to investigate claims of human rights abuses, to fact check or to be able to hear personal accounts from Tibetans about their current situations.
Tibetan-Australians cannot visit Tibet, cannot visit family or undertake religious pilgrimages to Tibet. To be able to apply for a visa, Tibetans must agree to give up their right to free speech, along with other rights such as religious freedom, by signing a CCP document at the Chinese embassy in order to have their application considered. These special visas are routinely denied.
This is why the Australia Tibet Council has consistently campaigned for Reciprocal Access to Tibet legislation here in Australia. The USA has already passed Reciprocal Access to Tibet legislation and the Biden administration has just released their 2021 State Department Report that found the Chinese government “systematically impeded” travel to Tibetan areas by US diplomats, journalists and tourists in 2021.
The report further states:
“The PRC authorities systematically impeded travel to the TAR and to many Tibetan areas outside the TAR for U.S. diplomats and officials, journalists, and tourists in 2021,” the report says, referring to the Tibet Autonomous Region, which spans about half of Tibet. The TAR is the only area under Chinese rule that foreign citizens must receive special permission to enter, although such permission is rarely granted.
The report says, “Tibetan Americans underwent a stricter screening process than other U.S. citizens when applying for PRC visas at PRC embassies. Tibetan Americans reported more frequent harassment by security officials in Tibetan areas than in other parts of China.”
The report adds that “Some Tibetan Americans reported they self-censored their behaviour in the United States out of fear of retribution against their family members in Tibet or fear of losing future access to Tibet.”
Read the full report here: https://savetibet.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Report-Access-Tibet-2021.pdf
ATC will continue to push for Reciprocal Access to Tibet legislation here in Australia to bring accountability to CCP officials who routinely discriminate against Tibetan-Australians and deny access to all Australians who wish to travel to Tibet.