Indian American diplomat appointed Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, China angry over the appointment


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has designated an American diplomat, Uzra Zeya as the country’s Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues.

Zeya, an Indian American has also been serving as the Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights in the Joe Biden administration since July this year.

“I have designated Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya to serve concurrently as the United States Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, an important role she will take on effective immediately. She will also continue to serve as Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, a position for which she was sworn in on July 14,” expressed Blinken in a statement.

Zeya’s parents were migrated from Bihar

“Zeya will coordinate US government policies, programs, and projects concerning Tibetan issues, consistent with the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, as amended by the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020,” the statement added.

Notably, the Indian American diplomat whose parents were migrated from Bihar has decades of high-level experience in US foreign policy–including on the issue of Tibet.

Now, she will serve as an important person to guide the Biden administration on various issues including ways to promote Tibetan identity, protect Tibetan culture and heritage and support the human rights of the Tibetan people.

Welcoming the US decision, the International Campaign for Tibet expressed hope that the top American diplomat will work proactively at promoting dialogue between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and the Chinese leadership.

Notably, Tibetans have been living under China’s oppressive rule for more than six decades.

“Special Coordinator Zeya will further support US efforts to address the humanitarian needs of Tibetan refugees and diaspora communities, including those in the United States who have faced threats and intimidation instigated by the People’s Republic of China (PRC),” read the statement released by Blinken.

However, China has reacted angrily to the appointment of Zeya, saying it will never recognize her designation as it amounted to interference in its internal affairs.

Responding to questions on Zeya’s appointment, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here that Tibetan affairs “are purely China’s domestic affairs. They brook no foreign interference”. “By designating a so-called special coordinator for Tibetan issues, the US is interfering in China’s domestic affairs. China firmly rejects this. We never recognize this designation,” he said

The US should appoint Special Coordinator, not for Tibetan issues but to probe the genocide of American Indians, human rights affairs of the ethnic minorities and the “botched COVID-19 response” resulting in a heavy death toll, he said.

Zeya, who was once posted in New Delhi during her diplomatic career, had quit the foreign service in 2018 in protest against the policies of then-president Donald Trump.

She also will promote activities to protect the environment and sustainably manage the water and other natural resources of the Tibetan plateau. Consistent with the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018, she also will seek to increase access to Tibet for US officials, journalists, and other citizens added the statement.