China rejects Zeya’s appointment as US Special Coordinator for Tibet; says will never recognise her role
Beijing: China on Tuesday reacted angrily to the US move to appoint Indian-origin diplomat Uzra Zeya as America’s Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, saying it will never recognise her designation as it amounted to interference in its internal affairs.
While designating Zeya as Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that she has been tasked with promoting “substantive dialogue” between China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives in support of a negotiated agreement on Tibet.
Responding to questions on Zeya’s appointment, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here that Tibetan affairs “are purely China’s domestic affairs. They brook no foreign interference”.
“By designating a so-called special coordinator for Tibetan issues the US is interfering in China’s domestic affairs. China firmly rejects this. We never recognise this designation,” he said.
He asked the US to take “concrete actions to abide by its commitment of recognising Tibet as part of China and not supporting Tibet independence and stop using Tibetan related issues to interfere in China’s domestic affairs. China will continue to take all measures to firmly safeguard our sovereignty, security and development interests.”
Responding to a follow-up question, he said, “I would like to stress that since the peaceful liberation of Tibet 70 years ago Tibet has experienced social harmony, economic prosperity and religious and cultural development”.
“People there lead a happy life (and) there is no need for certain US individuals to worry and there is no room for their criticism. If the US politicians can’t find anything better to do perhaps they should pay some attention to serious racial discrimination and human rights problems at home,” he said.
The US should appoint Special Coordinator, not for Tibetan issues but to probe the genocide of American Indians, human rights affairs of the ethnic minorities and the “botched COVID-19 response” resulting in a heavy death toll, he said.
Zeya, who was once posted in New Delhi during her diplomatic career, had quit the foreign service in 2018 in protest against the policies of then-president Donald Trump.
She is also the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights.
As the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Zeya will coordinate the US government policies, programmes and projects concerning Tibetan issues, consistent with the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, as amended by the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020.
“Specifically, she will promote substantive dialogue, without preconditions, between the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Dalai Lama, his representatives, or democratically elected Tibetan leaders in support of a negotiated agreement on Tibet,” according to the US Department of State.
Beijing views the 86-year-old Dalai Lama as a separatist.
Last month, China while responding to the Dalai Lama’s remarks in Tokyo that he has no particular plans to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping but his wish to visit Tibet to meet old friends, another Chinese spokesman Wang Wenbin had said Beijing is open for dialogue with the Tibetan spiritual leader.
“The Central Government of China’s policy on contact and negotiations with the 14th Dalai Lama is consistent and clear, and the door for contact and negotiations remains open,” he said.
“I want to stress that the contact and negotiations are only about the personal future of the 14th Dalai Lama, not the so-called ‘Tibetan issue’,” he said.
What the “Dalai Lama should do is to truly give up the position of splitting the motherland, stop activities that will separate the country, and win the trust of the Central Government and the Chinese people with concrete actions”, Wang said.