By Lalit K Jha
Washington, September 04: Slamming China's plan to further tighten control over Tibet, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has said that if voted to power, his administration will sanction Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses in the remote Himalayan region.
Noting that the Chinese government recently announced plans to further tighten control over Tibet, thereby continuing to erode the human rights, religious freedoms, and dignity of the Tibetan people, the former US vice president said that these are only the latest efforts by Beijing to crush ethnic minorities that seek to preserve their distinct culture, language and beliefs.
"My administration will sanction Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses in Tibet, and step up support for the Tibetan people, including by expanding Tibetan language services at Radio Free Asia and Voice of America to get information from the outside world into Tibet, Biden said.
Biden vowed that as president he will meet with the Dalai Lama, appoint a new Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, and insist that the Chinese government restore access to Tibet for US citizens, including American diplomats and journalists.
Where (President Donald) Trump has turned a blind eye, a Biden-Harris administration will stand up for the people of Tibet, Biden said.
In his statement, Biden alleged that Trump has been weak on his China policy.
Once again, the silence from President Trump has been deafening, as he focuses instead on his empty trade deal with Beijing and protecting his 'very good friendship' with Chinese President Xi Jinping. It's disgraceful, though not surprising, that Trump is the first American president in three decades who has not met or spoken with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he said.
Trump hasn't even fulfilled the statutory requirement to appoint a Special Coordinator to lead America's efforts on this vital issue. It's no wonder China's leaders believe they have a free hand to deepen repression in Tibet, just as they have in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, Biden said.
A day earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had called upon Beijing to enter into dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives without preconditions, to reach a settlement that resolves their differences.
We're also concerned about Chinese actions in Tibet, in light of the general secretary's recent calls to 'Sinicise' Tibetan Buddhism and fight 'splittism' there, Pompeo told reporters on Wednesday.
Chinese President Xi last week said that efforts must be made to fully implement the party's policies on governing Tibet for a new era.
Xi, also the General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party, also spoke of sinicisation of Tibetan Buddhism.
Tibet remained deeply devoted to Buddhism where the Dalai Lama is revered as the spiritual head despite his self-exile to India since 1959 after China took control of the remote region in 1950.
While Beijing views the Dalai Lama, 85, as a separatist who seeks to split Tibet from China, the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate says he only seeks greater rights for Tibetans, including religious freedom and autonomy.
China also opposes any foreign leader meeting with the Dalai Lama.
Since 1959, Tibet has been witnessing periodic incidents of violence, unrest and protest against Beijing.
China asserts that Tibet has been its part since the 13th century and will remain so forever.