Rare Tibet visit for US ambassador

World | ASSOCIATED PRESS 21 May 2019

The US ambassador to China is making a rare visit to Tibet to meet officials and raise concerns about restrictions on Buddhist practices and the preservation of the Himalayan region's culture and language.

The US Embassy in Beijing said Terry Branstad is visiting the Tibetan Autonomous Region and neighboring Qinghai province, birthplace of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader.

Branstad's visit will include official meetings along with visits to religious and cultural heritage sites, schools, and other places of interest.

China tightly restricts access to Tibet by foreigners, especially journalists and diplomats. The US Congress last year passed an act that denies entry to the United States for anyone "substantially involved in the formulation or execution of policies related to access for foreigners to Tibetan areas."

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China welcomed Branstad to witness the "earth-shaking changes in the people's production and life since Tibet's peaceful liberation more than 60 years ago."

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