|Dec. 21, 2018 -- With the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018 now signed into US law, the already rocky China-US relationship just got an additional flashpoint.
The Act seeks to promote access to Tibetan areas of China for US diplomats, journalists, and tourists by denying entry into the United States for Chinese officials allegedly responsible for restricting their access to Tibet.
This, as the Foreign Ministry angrily retorted, is a "totally groundless and absolutely unacceptable" move.
Groundless because plenty of foreigners, among whom some 40,000 were Americans, have visited Tibet since 2015.
Unacceptable because the Act "grossly interferes with China's internal affairs, and violates the basic norms of international relations". The former in particular.
Request for reciprocity is nothing unusual in negotiations between countries over privileges for each other's citizens in people-to-people exchanges. But the masterminds behind the Act have ignored the common sense that reciprocity grows best as an outcome of common consent, and when based on mutual respect.
Beijing's furious initial responses reveal the political naivety of those hoping to coerce Beijing into budging on such a sensitive and critical internal affair.
With long and constantly refreshed memories of foreign interference in its affairs, present-day China cherishes a particular aversion to it, among which interferences related to Tibet and Taiwan have become prominent in recent times. This to Chinese minds is a continuation of the historical interferences by foreign powers in its affairs.
The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018 and the Taiwan Travel Act, passed earlier this year, serve as nothing but moves of folly as they send the wrong signal encouraging those secessionist forces seeking "Tibetan independence" and "Taiwan independence".
Some US politicians, preoccupied with addressing international issues with domestic laws, have taken the wrong way in pointing their fingers at China and trying to force their terms on it.
Tibet is open and will open wider to the outside world. But everything will proceed to Beijing's agenda, not that of Washington.
The two acts show that as well as its trade attacks, Washington is intent on putting pressure on Beijing by all means possible.
With Washington favoring a confrontational approach aimed at maintaining its hegemony rather than a cooperative one for the common good, Beijing will have to be prepared to stand its ground and respond as necessary to safeguard its core interests.