The U.S. State Department says it is "deeply concerned and saddened" by the recent spike in self-immolations in Tibet, and that Beijing's restrictive policies are making tensions in the area worse.
At least 92 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009, with 28 cases reported in November alone..
U.S. Under Secretary of State Maria Otero said in a statement late Wednesday that “Chinese authorities have responded to these tragic incidents with measures that tighten already strict controls on freedoms of religion, expression, assembly and association of Tibetans.”
Specifically, she said U.S. officials have urged their Chinese counterparts to address policies such as restrictions on Tibetan Buddhist practices, surveillance on monasteries, arbitrary detentions, disappearances, and use of force against “Tibetans seeking peacefully to exercise their universal human rights.”
Otero called on the Chinese government to "permit journalists, diplomats, and other observers unrestricted access to China's Tibetan areas," where Beijing has tightly restricted the flow of information.
She also called on China to "engage in dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives without preconditions."
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