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Tibetan Exile Government Hails Parole of Political Prisoner - 2003-03-30


Tibet's government-in-exile has welcomed China's decision to grant a medical parole to its longest-held female political prisoner.

In a statement Saturday, the government-in-exile said the move is a "positive signal" and will help bring about dialogue with China to resolve the issue of Tibet.

The freed Buddhist nun, Ngawang Sangdrol, arrived in the United States late Friday for treatment of severe headaches. She was imprisoned in 1990 at the age of 13, and spent years in jail for participating in pro-independence protests. She was released in October because of her illness.

The nun's case is one of many the U.S. State Department has raised with China in a continuing human-rights dialogue. China occupied Tibet in 1950, citing historical claims to the territory. Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule and set up a government in exile in northern India.

Many Tibetans, particularly nuns and monks, remain strongly loyal to the Dalai Lama and stage protests from time to time.

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