Why reciprocity matters: the US Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act

March 20, 2019

By Natasha Kassam, The Interpreter, 20 March 2019

Will this Reciprocal Access Act inspire some reciprocity from the Chinese system? It’s possible the Tibet Foreign Affairs Office is scrambling to arrange a delegation from the US Embassy in Beijing before Pompeo delivers his report.

But that seems unlikely, given senior government officials are now claiming that Chinese travel restrictions are in place in order to benevolently protect foreigners from the dangers of altitude sickness. This claim is particularly absurd given the neighbouring Qinghai province has many areas higher than Tibet’s capital Lhasa and is not subject to the same formal restrictions. The same official from Tibet complained that the US Reciprocal Access Act “had seriously interfered in China’s internal affairs”.

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