U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman is now visiting Lhasa, Tibet. This is the first visit of a U.S. Ambassador to Lhasa since 2002.
The U.S. State Department has listed Lhasa as one of its top two priorities for new consulates in the People’s Republic of China. Thus far, the Chinese government has not agreed to the U.S. request. The nearest U.S diplomatic office in the PRC is in Chengdu, some 800 miles to the east.
Ambassador Huntsman has been active on human rights issues in China, including Tibet. In testimony to Congress, he said: “I see dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama’s representatives as essential for resolving longstanding tensions in Tibetan areas of China and for safeguarding the distinct ethnic, cultural, and religious identity of the Tibetan people,” and “We urge China’s leaders to address the underlying political, economic, cultural, and religious concerns of its Tibetan citizens to build long-term stability in the region.”
In April 2002, then-Ambassador Clark Randt travelled to Tibet and “pressed for dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama of his representatives and has raised concerns about threats to the unique cultural, religious and linguistic heritage of Tibetans.”
Information for this report was provided by ICT