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US Says Chinese Attitude Aggravates Tensions in Tibet

  • VOA News

Map of self-immolations in Tibetan regions

The United States says it is concerned about the situation in the Tibetan region, where another monk killed himself by self-immolation.

VOA's Tibetan Service reported Wednesday that a 20-year-old monk named Lobsang Sherab set himself on fire in the main street of Cha township in China's southwestern Sichuan province. Sherab was a member of the Kirti monastery, where anti-Beijing sentiment runs high.

Sherab was the 20th Tibetan monk or nun who have died by self-immolation this year, with at least 10 others surviving their suicide attempts.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that China is aggravating the situation in the Tibetan region by its attacks on the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader-in-exile.

"We remain deeply concerned about the tensions and the human rights violations in the Tibetan areas. China’s own continuing vilification of the Dalai Lama and repeated accusations with regard to the Dalai Lama, and saying that he is directly involved - as to the Tibetan grievances, it just makes the situation worse. So we continue to call on China to respect the human rights of Tibetans and to - and allow journalists in, etcetera."

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved a resolution deploring what it calls "the repressive policies targeting Tibetans" and urges Beijing to resume talks with Tibetan Buddhist leaders, including the Dalai Lama. The resolution does not carry the weight of law, but it urges U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to seek a full accounting from Beijing on its ongoing crackdown, particularly at the flashpoint Kirti monastery.

Hong Lei, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, says that some U.S. senators "confused right and wrong" in approving the legislation. A day earlier, he blamed the self-immolations on the Dalai Lama.

"All of their deeds show that the Dalai clique is the hand behind planning the relevant self-immolations. Maiming and destroying human life in order to reach a Tibetan independence separatist political goal will never succeed.''

China routinely refers to the protesters as trained "terrorists" and accuses the Dalai Lama of orchestrating the protests from his exile home in northern India. Beijing also argues it has provided substantial funding to upgrade Tibetan infrastructure and improve living conditions in Tibetan regions.

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