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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

US names under secretary of state Uzra Zeya special Tibet coordinator

She will lead US efforts to preserve the religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage of Tibetans

Reuters Washington Published 21.12.21, 02:33 AM
Uzra Zeya.

Uzra Zeya. Twitter/@UnderSecStateJ

The US on Monday named under secretary of state Uzra Zeya as special coordinator for Tibetan issues, saying she would lead US efforts to preserve the Chinese-ruled territory’s religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage in the face of human rights abuses by Beijing.

China’s Washington embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Beijing has consistently refused to deal with a US coordinator on Tibet, seeing it as interference in its internal affairs.

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US secretary of state Antony Blinken said Zeya, who is responsible for democracy and human rights at the state department, would also seek to promote dialogue between China and Tibet’s spiritual leader in exile, the Dalai Lama, or democratically elected Tibetan leaders.

“She will lead US efforts to preserve the religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage of Tibetans who are facing human rights abuses and challenges to their livelihoods and environment,” Blinken said in a tweet.

China reacted angrily last year and accused the US of seeking to destabilise Tibet after the administration of former US President Donald Trump appointed Zeya’s predecessor to the same role.

US-China relations have been at their lowest point in decades over a range of issues, including trade, Taiwan, human rights, the South China Sea and the coronavirus.
China seized control of Tibet after its troops entered the region in 1950 in what it calls a “peaceful liberation.” Tibet has since become one of the most restricted areas in the country. Critics, led by the Dalai Lama, say Beijing’s rule amounts to “cultural genocide”.

Zeya will continue to serve as US under secretary for civilian security, democracy, and human rights. The International Campaign for Tibet advocacy group welcomed Zeya’s new role and in an emailed statement its interim President Bhuchung Tsering urged Zeya to take the lead in gathering support from like-minded countries to formulate a common approach on Tibet.

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