Jan. 30 (UPI) — China chastised the United States and urged it to stop interfering in its international business after the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation in support of human rights in Tibet.
On Tuesday, the House overwhelmingly passed The Tibet Policy Support Act of 2019 that would establish a U.S. policy recognizing the Tibetan Buddhist community as sole overseers of succession or reincarnation of its leaders, which is in contrast with China that claims this right to choose the next leaders of the religion. Under the bill, sanctions could be imposed against Chinese officials who interfere in the process.
The bill also mandates that there will be no more Chinese consulates built on U.S. soil until a U.S. consulate is established in Lhasa, Tibet’s historical capital.
On Wednesday, China said Tibet has been under Chinese sovereignty since ancient times and the issues of Tibet are China’s internal affairs that do not invite foreign interference.
The passing of the bill “grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs and sent a wrong message to ‘Tibet independence’ forces,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement. “We are indignant at and firmly opposed to it.”
She said in the past 60 years following China invading Tibet in the 1950s, the region has experienced “historical progress” economically, socially, culturally and ecologically, and China urges the United States to right its mistake, take “an objective stance” of Tibet “and stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs.”
“It should work to enhance mutual understanding and cooperation between China and itself rather than doing the opposite,” she said.
The House passed the bill, which will be sent to the Senate for vote before it can become law, amid mounting U.S. pressure on China concerning the Asian nation’s human rights record.
In the Congressional-Executive Commission on China’s 2019 annual report, it said Chinese authorities have continued to systematically repress the human rights of Tibetans through the restriction of their religious and cultural life.
House Speak Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the passing of the bill shows the United States’ support for the people of Tibet and that they were sending a clear message to Beijing that officials “will be held accountable for interfering in Tibet’s religious and cultural affairs.”
The bill follows a similar one signed into law late last year in support of protesters in Hong Kong demonstrating against the pro-Chinese government.
China retaliated to its signing by suspending U.S. port calls to Hong Kong and imposing sanctions against NGOs, claiming they were instigating violence in the autonomous region.