On July 3, 2008, the International Herald Leader under Xinhua News Agency published a report titled “The U.S. Attempts to Set Up Its Stronghold in Tibet to Facilitate Its Entry Into Tibet.” This report reveals the Chinese government’s response to the U.S. government’s proposal to set up a consulate in Tibet. The following is the translation of the report.
By Lin Jie, International Herald Leader Staff Reporter from Beijing
It is very obvious that the United States has its political agenda in having a consulate in Lhasa; which is, setting up a stronghold in Tibet for the United States.
Not for the first time, the American politicians who are overly “concerned” about Tibet once again proposed to set up a consulate in Lhasa.
On June 26, the U.S. Senate passed an urgent fund appropriation act. Included in the additional articles of this act was a proposal to appropriate five million dollars to establish a consulate in Lhasa. The House of Representatives passed this act on June 19 before it was sent to the Senate.
The U.S. Has an Obvious Political Agenda
When interviewed by the International Herald Leader, Professor Niu Xinchun of the Institute of American Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, explained the seriousness of the act passed in the Senate: “Although similar proposals have been brought up in recent years many times, this time it is passed in the form of Congress Law, making it more formal. That means the U.S. Congress will implement this act accordingly.”
What on earth is the true motive of those American politicians who are making such a great show to demonstrate their earnestness?
Professor Ye Hailin at the Institute of Asia Pacific Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has been an expert in consulate affairs. He told reporters of the International Herald Leader that there are two necessary requirements in choosing the site for a consulate. One is the consulate must be located in a region where the bilateral economic exchange and cultural exchange are both very active; the second is the overseas residents from the particular foreign country are populous in that region. However, in Tibet, neither of these two requirements is met. In addition, in terms of the U.S. consulate distribution in China, the United States already has a consulate in Sichuan Province, the neighboring province of Tibet. If the United States needs to accomplish certain consulate tasks, its consulate in Chengdu should be sufficient to handle them.
“If we use the elimination method,” said Professor Ye Hailin, “the only motive for the U.S. to set up a consulate in Lhasa is a political motive. It has nothing to do with the normal functions of a regular general consulate.”
The U.S. ‘Priority Project’ to Meddle With Tibetan Affairs
Then, what is the political agenda of the United States? According to Professor Niu Xinchun, the United States intended to “establish a stronghold in Tibet.”
As early as April this year, the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated clearly that trying to set up a U.S. consulate in Tibet is meant to help explore a channel for American diplomats to get into Tibet. Back then, Rice made this statement when addressing the fund appropriation committee of the Senate. She also mentioned that the U.S. government was studying the possibility of establishing a consulate in Tibet. The NGO organization in the United States, “International Campaign for Tibet,” which had been instigating the Congress and supporting the establishment of a U.S. consulate, claimed that having a U.S. consulate in Lhasa would “improve the quality and quantity of the information obtained from inner Tibet for U.S. government officials.”
As a matter of fact, at the very beginning of the motion, it had a close tie to the activists in the United States advocating an independent Tibet and those forces supporting an independent Tibet. On April 24 of this year, the Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy Lodi Gyari made his way to the hearing of the Senate, claiming that establishing a U.S. consulate in Lhasa should be listed as the “Most Priority Project” by the U.S. congress in meddling with Tibetan affairs. Also present was the American actor Richard Gere, who willingly works hard for “Tibet Independence activists.” He is one of the organizers of the “International Campaign for Tibet.”
It Requires Bilateral Agreement to Establish a Consulate
At present, there is only one consulate in Tibet—the consulate of Nepal. This consulate was established before the Dalai Lama escaped to India in 1959. Lhasa has played a significant role in the active economic and cultural exchange between China and Nepal. The direct transportation line between Nepal’s capital Kathmandu and Lhasa is serving passengers traveling between the two cities.
India was the second country with a consulate in Lhasa at that time. However, after the rebellion in Tibet in 1959, the Indian Consulate in Lhasa played an extremely shameful role. When the Sino-India war broke out in 1962, the Indian Consulate in Lhasa was abolished. A few years ago, Indian government had thought of resuming the consulate in Lhasa; after a bilateral negotiation, the consulate was finally chosen to be set up in Guangzhou City. According to analysts, such an arrangement conformed to the principle of equality in setting up a consulate, because India is not allowed to enter the sensitive northwestern region of China either.
Therefore, a senior international law scholar also pointed out, if China rejects the American proposal of setting up a consulate in Lhasa, it does not constitute a violation to any international law. In addition, China does not have to provide any explanation. There isn’t any problem in the legal aspect either.
 Reference: International Herald Leader, July 3, 2008