In response to the U.S. erroneous act, China decides to impose visa restrictions on U.S. individuals with egregious conducts on Tibet-related issues, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Wednesday.
Zhao made the remarks at a daily news briefing while responding to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recent announcement of visa restrictions on the Chinese government and some officials pursuant to the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018.
"We urge the U.S. side to immediately stop interfering in China's internal affairs with Tibet as a pretext, and refrain from going further down the wrong path, lest it should further harm China-U.S. relations as well as exchange and cooperation between the two countries," Zhao said.
Zhao said Tibetan affairs are purely China's internal affairs that allow no foreign interference.
He said China pursues a policy of opening up, and Tibet is open to all with no restriction on foreigners' entry, adding that Tibet receives a large number of foreign travelers and people from various sectors every year.
Incomplete statistics showed that from 2015 to 2018, nearly 176,000 foreigners traveled to Tibet for official visits, tourism and business trips, including about 175,000 tourists, nearly 500 diplomats and 343 journalists. Last year, the number of visitors to Tibet, both from at home and abroad, topped 40 million, according to Zhao.
"I want to point out that considering the special geographical and climatic conditions in the region, it is entirely necessary and indisputable that the government takes some lawful measures to manage and protect foreign nationals in Tibet," Zhao said.
China welcomes more foreign citizens to visit, travel in and do business in Tibet, and this policy won't change, Zhao said. "However, they must abide by Chinese laws and regulations and follow necessary procedures."
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