US imposes sanctions on Chinese officials for ‘forced assimilation’ of Tibetan children

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The United States announced on Tuesday that it has imposed sanctions on Chinese officials who are pursuing policies of “forced assimilation” of children in Tibet, where more than a million children have been separated from their families, according to UN experts.

“These coercive measures aim to eliminate Tibet’s distinctive linguistic, cultural and religious traditions among the younger generations of Tibetans,” US diplomatic chief Antony Blinken said in a statement commenting on the visa restriction for these officials informed.

“We call on the Chinese authorities to end the coercion of Tibetan children in government boarding schools and end the repressive assimilation policies both in Tibet and elsewhere in the country,” it said.

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Since 2021, the US has accused China of committing genocide through a network of forced labor camps in another region, Xinjiang.

According to a Foreign Ministry spokesman, the new restrictions will apply to officials involved in Tibetan politics, whether active or not. He avoided giving details, citing laws on Visa confidentiality.

In December, the United States imposed sanctions on two senior Chinese officials, Wu Yingjie and Zhang Hongbo, for what Washington called widespread human rights abuses in Tibet.

In the statement, Blinken cites a figure presented by three UN experts in February, which assumes that around one million Tibetan children have been forcibly transferred to boarding schools.

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The program appears to aim to forcibly integrate Tibetans into China’s predominantly Han-ethnic culture, with mandatory instruction in Mandarin and unrelated to the culture of the predominantly Buddhist Himalayan region.

Another report released this year by UN experts said hundreds of thousands of Tibetans have also been forced to abandon traditional rural life and engage in low-skill “vocational training.”

China’s Foreign Ministry called the report “completely unfounded” and said the Tibet region “enjoys social stability, economic development, ethnic unity, religious harmony, and people live and work in peace.”

China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since the 1950s.

Tibet’s charismatic spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since 1959, has raised global awareness of the region’s fate. Many Tibetans accuse China of repression and torture.

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