A Tibetan women’s football team has been denied American visas to take part in a tournament in Texas. The decision to deny visas by the recently elected Donald Trump administration comes despite Trump’s searing rhetoric on Beijing’s One-China Policy. According to a report published in the BBC, most of the members of the Tibetan football team hold Indian identity papers, and two of them even hold Indian passports.
A US official was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that America still considered Tibet as part of China. America’s position on Tibet hasn’t changed, AP reported the US official as saying. The official also said that the US embassy didn’t comment on individual cases.
The BBC noted in its article that neither India nor China featured on the list of seven countries whose citizens had been banned from entering the US by the Trump administration. The American coach of the Tibetan team, Cassie Childers, said she was “shamed” over the American embassy decision, telling the BBC that the team had been planning the trip for months.
“I am disappointed because we had planned the trip for months. It was a big moment in every player’s life when they were told about the trip. It was their opportunity to tell the world that Tibetan women are capable of achieving anything,” Childers said.
— TIBET (@Tibetans) March 2, 2017
The American coach had been training her Tibetan team in India, and most of the soccer players had applied for visa in India, the BBC reported.
What does the decision to deny Tibetans the visas tell about Donald Trump?
In the lead up to assuming American presidency, Trump had been critical of Beijing’s One-China rule. In December, Trump rattled nerves in Beijing by taking a telephone call from Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-Wen. Trump later doubled down on his stand in the wake of criticism by Beijing, saying that his administration wouldn’t be bound by One-China policy.
“I fully understand the One China policy, but I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” Trump had said back then.
Trump questioning the One China Policy,
(Source: Wall Street Journal/Youtube)
Trump’s critical rhetoric on One-China, even before he had assumed presidency, evoked strong reactions from Beijing. China’s foreign ministry was reported saying that One-China policy was “non-negotiable.”
Any questioning of One China policy touches a raw nerve in Beijing, which wants the world to view Taiwan and the Tibetan region as part of its own territory. Since 1979, all US presidents have abided by the One-China rule, which Beijing views as bedrock of diplomatic relations between the two world powers. Donald Trump was the first elected American leader in decades to question US’ continuing abidance to One-China rule.
However, the US government seemingly mellowed out on Trump’s earlier stand on the One-China Policy this month. According to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Trump had agreed to uphold the One China Policy in a telephone call with China’s President Xi Jingping earlier this month. Spicer said that Trump “got something in return” from the Chinese leader for agreeing to the One-China Policy.
India is also often accused by China of undermining the One-China policy by supporting Tibetan refugees, who along with their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama have sought refuge in India since a failed indigenous uprising against Beijing’s rule in 1959. Time and again, New Delhi is blamed for inciting political instability in Tibet for giving public platform to the Dalai Lama.
New Delhi claims that the Dalai Lama’s activities in India are apolitical in nature.