US imposes visa curbs on Chinese officials over boarding schools for Tibetans

Children who live at Lhasa Children Welfare House sit on sofa as a group of foreign reporters visits on a government organised tour in Lhasa

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States will impose visa restrictions on Chinese officials to tackle "forcible assimilation" of Tibetan children in government-run boarding schools, the State Department said on Tuesday, without providing details or naming any officials.

"We urge PRC authorities to end the coercion of Tibetan children into government-run boarding schools and to cease repressive assimilation policies," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

China firmly opposed the curbs, foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a news briefing on Wednesday.

"This wrong decision should be revoked immediately, otherwise China will make a resolute and forceful response," Wang said.

Tibet has been ruled by China since 1951, when troops took control in what it says was a peaceful liberation.

China maintains that it protects the rights of all ethnic minority cultures and its constitution grants groups the freedom to use and develop their own written and spoken languages.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil and Katharine Jackson; Additional reporting by Laurie Chen and Liz Lee in Beijing; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Clarence Fernandez)