The State Department on Tuesday said the U.S. ambassador to China last month visited Ngaba region in eastern Tibet (Chinese: Aba, Sichuan) where most of the Tibetan self-immolations have taken place.
Responding to a question by VOA Chinese reporter Zhang Rongxiang, Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Ambassador Gary Locke met with the government officials and residents during a stop in Ngba county of the Sichuan province as part of his trip to Chongqing and Sichuan province in September.
Spokeswoman Nuland stated that Locke visited villages and Buddhist monasteries in Ngaba to learn more about how Tibetans live and work. Nuland reiterated "grave concern" by the U.S. over the increasing number of immolations and urged better dialogue between China and Tibet.
"We have grave concerns over self-immolations in Tibet and about the underlying grievances that the Tibetan people have and we have consistently urged dialogue between the Chinese Government and the Tibetan people with regard to those grievances," said Spokeswoman Nuland.
Ngaba is home to Kirti Monastery, where the self-immolations began in February 2009. 55 Tibetans have burned themselves to protest Beijing's rule and more than half have occured at in Ngaba prefecture in Sichuan.
VOA Chinese reporter Zhang Rongxiang asks State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland's about US Ambassador's visit to Ngaba last month.