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US Deplores Violence in Tibetan Areas of China

  • VOA Tibetan

The United States has expressed concern about reports of Chinese security forces shooting at Tibetan protesters, killing some and injuring others.

In a statement issued Tuesday Undersecretary of State for Human Rights, Maria Otero, said reports of violence follow the immolation of four Tibetans earlier this month, bringing to 16 the total number of Tibetans who set themselves on fire since March of 2011.

Otero called on the Chinese government to exercise restraint and renewed U.S. calls for China to open dialogue with Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama or his representatives to address the grievances of Tibetan people.

Norwegian-funded Tibetan exile group said Tuesday that five people have been killed in a second straight day of confrontations between Tibetans and security forces in China's southwestern Sichuan province.

Voice of Tibet radio says Tuesday's deaths occurred at a marketplace in Seda (Tibetan: Serta) county, about 40 kilometers from the scene of a similar deadly confrontation Monday in Luhuo.

An exiled Tibetan who spoke Tuesday to VOA's Tibetan service says witnesses have confirmed two of Tuesday's five victims are dead. The conditions of the remaining three, also hit by police gunfire, were not immediately known.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said widespread reports of unrest and violence at the Sichuan monastery were exaggerated. Spokesman Hong Lei acknowledged that one person was killed in that confrontation, but said the protest itself was carried out by "dozens" as opposed to thousands of demonstrators.

Hong said four protesters and five police were injured Monday, after locals began destroying stores and attacking police with rocks and knives. He also said the demonstrations were spawned by "overseas secessionists."

Monks in Sichuan Buddhist monasteries told Western news agencies they were treating more than 30 of Monday's Tibetan demonstrators for injuries, and said two of them were critically wounded by police gunfire.

Monks also said they were too afraid to take the wounded and injured to an outside hospital, because of a large police presence in the area.

Reports say the Tibetans demonstrating Monday and Tuesday protested the earlier arrests of some activists distributing pamphlets calling for Tibetan freedom from Chinese rule.

Earlier Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State department, Victoria Nuland, urged China to start dialogue with the Dalai Lama and address Tibetans' grievances and respect their rights and their unique culture.

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