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China Condemns U.S. Meeting With Tibet Government-in-Exile

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China criticized a meeting between the U.S.’s new Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Robert Destro and Tibet’s president-in-exile Lobsang Sangay, accusing America of trying to destabilize the region.

Destro “violated the commitment and the policy stance of the U.S. side on not supporting Tibet’s independence and not acknowledging this government in exile,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily briefing in Beijing on Tuesday. He urged the U.S. to stop “sabotaging Tibet’s development and stability.”

Sangay last Friday tweeted a photo of a meeting with Destro in Washington, saying it was the first time a president of the exiled government, called the Central Tibetan Administration, had been formally invited inside the State Department.

Great honor to meet with the Special Coordinator on Tibetan Issues @DRL_AS. This is the first time a Sikyong (President) of the Central Tibetan Administration was formally invited inside the State Department.1:21 AM · Oct 16, 2020

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Zhao referred to the CTA as a “separatist political organization,” also calling Sangay “an out and out anti-China separatist.”

“China firmly opposes him engaging in anti-China separatist activities in whatever status and under whatever pretext in any countries,” he said. “And we firmly oppose any officials in other countries having any kind of contact with him.”

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo last week named Destro — the assistant secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor — to the special coordinator post, which had been vacant for several years, as Washington increases its scrutiny of rights abuses in the region. Destro will be responsible for advancing dialog between Beijing and the Dalai Lama and protecting the religious, cultural and linguistic identity of Tibetans, the State Department said.

— With assistance by Colum Murphy, Karen Leigh, and Muneeza Naqvi

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