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February 8, 2021 – In their first call since the Biden Administration took office, the new secretary of state told China’s top diplomat that the United States will continue to push for human rights and democratic values in Tibet.

According to a State Department spokesperson, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke on Feb. 5, 2021 with Yang Jiechi, the director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs in the People’s Republic of China.

The spokesperson said Blinken “stressed the United States will continue to stand up for human rights and democratic values, including in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong.”

Blinken also told Yang the US will work with its allies to hold the Chinese government accountable for its efforts to threaten stability in the Indo-Pacific region and undermine the rules-based international order, the spokesperson added.

Blinken’s remarks followed comments the State Department made to Radio Free Asia last week, promising that the US will pressure China to re-enter dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama; end its interference in the selection of Tibetan Buddhist leaders; and respect Tibetans’ unique culture, religion, language and environment.

During the 2020 campaign, Biden also pledged that his administration “will stand up for the people of Tibet.”

State Department statement

Below is the statement from the State Department spokesperson on Blinken’s call with Yang.

“Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with People’s Republic of China (PRC) Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi and extended his best wishes for the Lunar New Year. Secretary Blinken stressed the United States will continue to stand up for human rights and democratic values, including in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, and pressed China to join the international community in condemning the military coup in Burma. The Secretary reaffirmed that the United States will work together with its allies and partners in defense of our shared values and interests to hold the PRC accountable for its efforts to threaten stability in the Indo-Pacific, including across the Taiwan Strait, and its undermining of the rules-based international system.”

ICT statement

Below is a statement from the International Campaign for Tibet.

“The International Campaign for Tibet is pleased that Secretary Blinken made human rights and democratic values for the Tibetan people part of his first discussion with China’s top diplomat. The secretary’s remarks, in addition to the State Department’s comments to Radio Free Asia last week and President Biden’s message during the campaign, give us hope that this administration can make meaningful progress toward resolving the Tibetan issue. We urge the secretary and his fellow administration officials to put their promises into action, to fully implement the Tibetan Policy and Support Act and the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, and to appoint a new special coordinator for Tibetan issues at the undersecretary of state level as quickly as possible.”

www.savetibet.org