Destro will primarily be responsible for developing the dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama. The effort is to preserve the religious, cultural, and linguistic connections of Tibetans.
The Trump administration designated a senior official to oversee Tibetan concerns after a vacancy for almost four years. This decision comes as the US increases China’s influence over its human rights record, including overpowered labor among ethnic minorities.
Trump: New coordinator for Tibetan issues
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Wednesday termed Robert Destro as the US’s new Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. Destro will primarily be responsible for advancing the discussion between Beijing and the Dalai Lama and preserving the religious, cultural, and semantic integrity of Tibetans, according to the State Department.
“The United States remains concerned with the PRC’s repression of the Tibetan community. This concern includes the lack of meaningful autonomy and the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas. Additionally, it includes severe constraints on Tibetans’ religious freedom and cultural beliefs within China,” Pompeo said in a statement, citing the People’s Republic of China.
All about Robert Destro
Destro is the assistant secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
According to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, the particular coordinator post had been void since January 2017.
The commission had pressed the State Department to fill the job, saying the role was “essential to raising the profile of religious freedom concerns in Tibet and mobilizing government support to address the issue.”
I am proud to serve as the @StateDept’s Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. I look forward to engaging Tibetans and our partners around the world to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms for Tibet in the PRC and beyond. https://t.co/jGBCWUP9dp
— Assistant Secretary Robert A. Destro (@DRL_AS) October 14, 2020
The concerns of US-Tibet-China
China’s influence over Tibet has long been an irritant in US-China relations. It supports the region’s autonomy and its exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Consequently, this concern is often a bipartisan issue in Washington.
In July, the US also put travel restrictions on Chinese officials determined to be “substantially involved,” limiting Tibet’s access.
Tibet and the Xinjiang region have long sustained intense social, security, and religious commands. However, China still seeks to repress what it calls terrorist and separatist components.
Last month, striking researcher Adrian Zenz also released a report testifying that China institutes a mass labor system in Tibet. Consequently, the system is comparable to the one that has snared Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang.
Reply to Trump
In response to Zenz’s investigation and additional recording on Reuters’ subject, the Chinese Foreign Ministry stated the news organization. They also said that forced labor “simply does not exist” in the country. Additionally, the workers participated voluntarily and with adequate compensation.
“We hope the international society will distinguish right from wrong, regard facts, and not adhere to lies,” according to the statement.
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