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China warns of “forceful measures” as Trump signs new law on Tibet

China has warned the US that it would take “forceful measures” to resolutely safeguard its own interests after President Donald Trump signed a new law that imposes a visa ban on Chinese officials denying American citizens access to Tibet.

Trump signed the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018 into law Wednesday which passed by US Congress and the Senate, enraging China.

China insists Tibet has been part of its territory for centuries. The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 amid an abortive uprising against the Chinese rule in his Himalayan homeland.

Foreigners have to seek special permission from China to visit Tibet.

US citizens, including government officials, reporters and tourists who seek to enter Tibetan areas are routinely rejected, and the few who do get in are forced to stay on strictly controlled official tours, where the true situation of the Tibetan people is hidden from them, American officials say.

It has sent a seriously wrong message to “Tibetan independence” forces, the statement said.

Stressing that Tibet affairs are purely China’s domestic affairs and allow no interference from other countries, the statement said adding that Tibet and Tibetan areas in the other four provinces are open to people from around the world.

“If the US side implement the act, it will definitely cause serious damage to bilateral relations including exchanges between legislative bodies of both countries, and China will take forceful measures to resolutely safeguard its own interests,” the statement said.

This is the second major move by US relating to Tibet this month. Earlier this month a US official said Chinese government must not decide religious matters such as choosing the Dalai Lama amid fears that China will appoint a successor to the Tibetan spiritual leader aligned to its interests.

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