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China Rebuffs Australia's Concerns over Tibet བོད་སྐད།

China rebuffed Australian concerns about human rights in Tibet on Tuesday, and used annual human rights talks to quiz Australia about the treatment of indigenous Aborigines.

China's Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jieyi said Australian concerns about human rights in Tibet were unfounded.

"It is not an issue about human rights or religious freedom or culture. I believe the Australian side is very much aware of the Chinese position on this issue," Liu said.

"The important thing in understanding this issue is that we must base our opinions on solid facts."

China has faced international criticism that it represses religious and political freedoms in Tibet, which it considers to be part of China.

Australian officials said they used the bilateral talks in Canberra to raise human rights in Tibet, as well as freedom of expression and religion in China, the treatment of political prisoners, torture, the death penalty and rights for women.

But Australia also said China's human rights had improved "considerably" over the past 30 years.

Liu said the human rights talks, the 12th between Australia and China, were wide ranging and gave both countries a chance to better understand issues of concern.

"For example, the Chinese side wished to learn how the Australian government is taking measures on the issue of indigenous people," he said.

Australia's 460,000 indigenous Aborigines make up about 2 percent of the population but suffer far higher rates of unemployment, substance abuse and domestic violence, and have a life expectancy 17 years shorter than other Australians.

Information for this report was provided by Reuters.