China has lodged a "stern" diplomatic protest with the US over the Senate passing a bipartisan legislation that seeks to impose a visa ban on Chinese officials who deny American citizens, officials and journalists access to Tibet, even as Bejing asked Washington not to make it a law.
Reacting to the US move, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said here that the American action disregarded facts and amounted to interfering in China's internal affairs and was a violation of international rules.
"China is firmly opposed to it and lodged stern representations to the US. I have to point out that Tibet affairs come under China's internal affairs and it allows no foreign interference," he said.
'The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act', seeking unhindered access to Tibetan areas for Americans, something which is routinely denied by the Chinese government, was passed by the US House of Representatives in September.
The US Senate on Tuesday passed the crucial bipartisan legislation that also calls for a visa ban on Chinese officials who deny American citizens, government officials and journalists access to Tibet, the remote Himalayan homeland of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
The legislation, passed unanimously, comes amid the Trump administration imposing massive trade import duties on China that has started impacting the Chinese economy.
The bill now heads to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign into law.
Lu said foreigners entering Tibet can apply through normal channels and every year a lot of foreigners and local tourists visit Tibet.
He said since 2015, about 40,000 Americans visited Tibet and this included US Senators, Congressmen and businessmen.
"This shows the US accusations do not hold water at all and Chinese government and people cannot accept that. We urge the US to immediately take effective measures to stop signing the act into law and thus avoid harming US-China relations and our cooperation in key areas," he said.