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Government Statements on Tibet Immolations and Crisis at Kirti Monastery/ENG

2012. január 26./savetibet.org/TibetPress

Government Statements on Tibet Immolations and Crisis at Kirti Monastery
Last Updated: January 25, 2012 14:20EST

United States
January 24, 2012
› Statement by Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, and United States Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues

As United States Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, I am gravely concerned by reports of violence and continuing heightened tensions in Tibetan areas of China, including reports of security forces in Sichuan province opening fire on protesters, killing some and injuring others.

These reports follow the self-immolation of four Tibetans earlier this month, bringing the number of reported self-immolations by Tibetans to 16—mostly monks and former monks, and two nuns—since March 2011.

The U.S. Government consistently and directly has raised the issue of Tibetan self-immolations with the Chinese government. The U.S. Government repeatedly has urged the Chinese government to address the counterproductive policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions and that threaten the distinct religious, cultural and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people.

As I have noted previously, these policies include dramatically expanded Chinese government controls on religious life and practice; ongoing “patriotic education” campaigns within monasteries that require monks to denounce the Dalai Lama; the permanent placement of Chinese officials in monasteries; increasingly intensive surveillance, arbitrary detentions and disappearances of Tibetans; and restrictions on and imprisonment of some families and friends of self-immolators. Over the last year, Chinese government security and judicial officials also have detained and imprisoned Tibetan writers, artists, intellectuals, and cultural advocates who criticized Chinese government policies.

We call on the Chinese government to safeguard the universal human rights of all of China’s citizens. We urge Chinese security forces to exercise restraint, and we renew our call to allow access to Tibetan areas of China for journalists, diplomats and other observers. We call on the Chinese government to resume substantive, results-oriented dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives to address the underlying grievances of China’s Tibetan population.

View on HumanRights.gov

January 9, 2012
Question Taken, Daily Press Briefing
Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC

QUESTION: Also on China, just over the past weekend, three monks in Tibet did the self-immolation. That’s the – new cases in this year. So I’m wondering if you have any comments on that.

MS. NULAND: We do. We’re seriously concerned by reports that three more Tibetans have self-immolated over the past few days. Since March, this brings the count to some 15 Tibetan Buddhist self-immolations in China. We have consistently – the U.S. Government has consistently and directly raised with the Chinese Government this issue of Tibetan self-immolation.

These actions clearly represent enormous anger, enormous frustration with regard to the severe restrictions on human rights, including religious freedom inside China. And we have called the Chinese Government policies counterproductive and have urged the Chinese Government to have a productive dialogue to loosen up in Tibet and allow journalists and diplomats and other observers to report accurately and to respect the human rights of all of their citizens

View full transcript


November 17, 2011
Letter to US Ambassador to China Gary Locke
United States Congress: Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

Dear Ambassador Locke

You have undoubtedly seen news reports of the recent wave of self-immolations of Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns since March of this year in desperation at the abuses suffered by her people. Just last week a second nun did the same. According to the International Campaign for Tibet, she apparently called for religious freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama before setting herself aflame.

Recently the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on which we serve held a hearing during which we heard form Dr. Lobsang Sangay with the Central Tibetan Administration and His Eminence Kyabje Kirti Rinpoche with Kirti Monasteries. Their testimony was moving and deeply disturbing. They spoke of the abuses suffered by the Tibetan people which in recent months have driven these peace-loving people to desperate forms of protest.

In light of these realities, we urge you, in your capacity as U.S. ambassador to visit Tibet. Speak with the Tibetan people and faith leaders. Press for a fact-finding mission into the Kirti monastery which has featured prominently in the recent wave of self-immolations. Raise the Chinese government’s repressive policies in Tibet with senior party officials and publicly use your platform as Ambassador to make it clear to the Tibetan people that they have a friend in the United States of America.

You are uniquely positioned to reflect American values and priorities to the Chinese people and the Government of China. In that light, it is important for you as the lead representative of the United States in China to publically declare that the Chinese government must respect the peaceful religious, political, civic, and cultural expressions of the Tibetan people. For the United States, this is both morally imperative and politically prudent

We wish you continued success as Ambassador to China and we look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Frank R. Wolf, Member of Congress
James P. McGovern, Member of Congress
Joseph R. Pitts, Member of Congress

This letter was made available on the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission website
Download the letter as a PDF


November 10, 2011
Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
East-West Center, Honolulu, HI

[Excerpt]

We have made very clear our serious concerns about China’s record on human rights. When we see reports of lawyers, artists, and others who are detained or disappeared, the United States speaks up both publicly and privately. We are alarmed by recent incidents in Tibet of young people lighting themselves on fire in desperate acts of protest, as well as the continued house arrest of the Chinese lawyer Chen Guangcheng. We continue to call on China to embrace a different path.

View full statement


November 4, 2011
Question Taken, Daily Press Briefing
Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC

QUESTION: Different topic? Yesterday, a Tibetan nun set herself on fire and died. This is the 11th instance of this – these people setting – self-immolations. I don’t know if all 11 have died. Do you regard the Chinese Government’s rule of Tibet as the fundamental cause for this?

MS. NULAND: Well, I can’t speak directly to the cause of this. Obviously, you’d have to speak to the community where this is happening. But obviously, we have consistently and directly raised with the Chinese Government our concerns about Tibetan self-immolations, and we have repeatedly urged the Chinese Government to address its counterproductive policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions and that threaten the unique religious, cultural, linguistic identity of the Tibetan people. We’ve also repeatedly urged the Chinese Government to allow access to all Tibetan areas of China for journalists, diplomats, and other observers so that we can get accurate information and so that you can get accurate information.

And let me take this opportunity to again call on the Government of China to respect the rights of all of its citizens who peacefully express their desire for internationally recognized freedoms, and particularly the rights of Tibetans to resolve their underlying grievances with the Government of China.

QUESTION: Can you cite the counterproductive policies that you’re referring to, or any others of them that you’re referring to?

MS. NULAND: Well, I think that some of these policies are well known – destruction of religious property, displacement of people, replacement of people in sensitive religious areas, et cetera.

QUESTION: And have you – you said that you have raised and continue to raise directly. How have you done that? Has that been through the Embassy in Beijing? Has that been here in Washington? Has there been anything particularly recent on this?

MS. NULAND: Well, my understanding is since this new spate of self-immolations has begun, we’ve had extensive conversations based in Beijing with our – from our Embassy personnel. But as you know, Assistant Secretary Campbell and others have raised these issues directly and regularly, as has the Secretary, on the larger issue of the rights of Tibetan people within China.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Can I just follow up?

MS. NULAND: Yeah. Goyal.

QUESTION: Just as far as Tibetan issue is concerned, they have been demonstrating here, also in India, and there is much concern in Dharamsala in India. What I’m asking you, Madam, is: Are you planning or Secretary any kind of special envoy through the United Nations or U.S., somebody that – for their issues and for their concern with the Chinese?

MS. NULAND: Well, we do have a special envoy for religious freedom who addresses this issue. We have our assistant secretary for human rights who addresses these freedom – these issues. We have Maria Otero, our Under Secretary for Global Affairs, who is designated also as the Secretary’s special representative on Tibetan issues. So these issues are very well represented in this building.

QUESTION: And finally, since this is a concern to India very much next door, also tension is over Dalai Lama and over Tibet with China and India. Are you talking also something with the Indian Government or Indian officials? Or are they talking to you about this issue?

MS. NULAND: Well, we regularly talk about Tibet issues with the Government of India.

View full transcript

November 3, 2011
Statement of Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues and Commissioner, CECC
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Hearing on Congressional-Executive Commission on China: 2011 Annual Report

[Excerpt]

As U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, I would like to draw attention to a number of the Commission’s findings on Tibet. Over the last year, Tibetans who peacefully expressed disagreement with government policy faced increased risk of punishment, as the Chinese government continued to criminalize such expression under the guise of “safeguarding social stability.” The Chinese government also substantially increased state infringement of freedom of religion in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries. Government security and judicial officials detained and imprisoned Tibetan writers, artists, intellectuals, and cultural advocates who lamented or criticized government policies.

In July, when I participated on the Commission’s panel, “The Dalai Lama: What He Means for Tibetans Today,” I noted my deep concern with the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas of China, and specifically with the abuse and forcible removal of monks from Kirti Monastery and the heavy security presence there. The recent self-immolations of young Tibetans, many of whom have been affiliated with Kirti Monastery, are desperate acts that reflect intense frustration with human rights conditions, including religious freedom, inside China. The Commission has thoroughly documented the policies that many believe have created escalating tensions and a growing sense of isolation and despair among Tibetans. These policies include dramatically expanded government controls on religious life and practice, ongoing “patriotic education” campaigns within monasteries that require monks to denounce the Dalai Lama, increasingly intensive surveillance, arbitrary detentions and disappearances of hundreds of monks, and restrictions on and imprisonment of some families and friends of self-immolators.

The U.S. government repeatedly has urged the Chinese government to address its counterproductive policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions and that threaten the unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people. Senior State Department officials have consistently and directly raised with the Chinese government the issue of Tibetan self-immolations. We have urged the Chinese government to allow access to Tibetan areas for journalists, diplomats and other observers. We also have asked the Chinese government to resume substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives. When President Obama met with the Dalai Lama at the White House in July, the President stressed that he encourages direct dialogue to resolve long-standing differences and that a dialogue that produces results would be positive for China and Tibetans.

View full statement

November 2, 2011
Congressman Frank Wolf, Washington DC
Statement at House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

“Since March, 10 Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns have set themselves aflame in desperation at the abuses suffered by their people. One such nun is pictured here. Recently, cameramen smuggled out video footage of Chinese police in full riot gear carrying automatic rifles and iron bars outside of the monastery where several of the self-immolations occurred.”

 
October 19, 2011
Question Taken, Daily Press Briefing
Mark C. Toner, Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC

QUESTION: Have we raised the issue of Tibetan self-immolations with the Chinese government?

ANSWER: Yes, we have, and we remain seriously concerned by reports, since April, of eight Tibetan Buddhist monks and one nun self-immolating at or near the Ngaba Kirti monastery in China’s Sichuan province. These acts clearly represent anger and frustration with regard to Tibetan human rights, including religious freedom, inside China. We again call on the Chinese Government to respect the rights of all Chinese citizens who peacefully express their desire for internationally recognized freedoms; and particularly to respect the rights of Tibetans; to resolve the underlying grievances of China’s Tibetan population. We urge Chinese leaders to address counterproductive policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions; and to protect Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic identity.

October 18, 2011, Daily Press Briefing
October 18, 2011
Question Taken, Daily Press Briefing
Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC

QUESTION: A Tibetan nun set herself on fire yesterday after, I believe, Chinese forces shot and wounded – police shot and wounded two Tibetan demonstrators. This is all from the Free Tibet group. Do you have any comment?

MR. TONER: I’m sorry. Go ahead and finish.

QUESTION: Please.

MR. TONER: I just said we’re aware of these reports and – or we’re very – we’re seriously concerned by, in fact, by – over the last couple of days – it was another report, I think, yesterday of a self-immolation of a Tibetan monk and then of course today’s report of the nun immolating – self-immolating. In the light of the continuing underlying grievances of China’s Tibetan population, we would urge China and its leaders to respect the rights of Tibetans, to address some of the policies in these areas – Tibetan areas that have created tension, and to protect the Tibetan’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic identity.

QUESTION: Have you – beyond this public comment about it, have you raised it recently with the Chinese?

MR. TONER: Raised it recently? I’d have – I’ll have to check on that, whether we’ve raised it.

QUESTION: Like since –

MR. TONER: Yeah.

QUESTION: Thanks.

October 18, 2011, Daily Press Briefing >>


October 11, 2011
Question Taken, Daily Press Briefing
Victoria Nuland, Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC

QUESTION: Do you have anything on the immolations of young monks in Tibet?

MS. NULAND: Well, as we’ve said a number of times in recent weeks, we are very concerned about this trend and the clear anger and frustration and concern that it represents with regard to Tibetan human rights inside China. And we have repeatedly – and will do it here again – called on the Chinese Government to respect the rights of all Chinese citizens who peacefully express their desire for internationally recognized freedoms; and particularly to respect the rights of Tibetans; and to address policy in Tibet in areas that have created tensions; and to protect Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic identity.

October 11, 2011, Daily Press Briefing

 
September 27, 2011
Question Taken, Daily Press Briefing
Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC

QUESTION: What is the State Department’s response to press reports that two Tibetan monks set themselves on fire at a monastery in western China to protest Chinese policies in the area?

ANSWER: We are seriously concerned by reports of two recent self-immolations of monks from the Ngaba Kirti monastery in China’s Sichuan province. In light of the continuing underlying grievances of China’s Tibetan population, we again urge Chinese leaders to respect the rights of Tibetans, to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tension, and to protect Tibetans’ unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity. We continue to urge the Chinese Government to allow access to Tibetan areas of China for both journalists and diplomats.

September 27, 2011, Daily Press Briefing


July 13, 2011
Remarks by Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues
Congressional Executive Commission on China: Roundtable on \"The Dalai Lama: What He Means For Tibetans Today\"

[Excerpt]

The Administration’s goals on Tibetan issues are twofold. First, it is to promote a substantive, results oriented dialogue between the Chinese Government and the Dalai Lama or his representatives. Second, it is to help sustain Tibet’s unique religious, linguistic, and cultural heritages. The Administration at all levels – from the President, Secretary, Assistant Secretaries, to myself – has urged the Chinese Government to engage in a dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama. We remind the Chinese government that the vast majority of Tibetans advocate non-violent solutions to Tibetan issues and genuine autonomy – not independence or sovereignty – in order to preserve Tibet’s unique culture, religion and its fragile environment. Regrettably, the Chinese government has not engaged in a substantive dialogue with the Tibetans since January 2010.

I want to take this opportunity to briefly mention some of our concerns and ongoing activities. We are extremely concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in China and in particular in the Tibet Autonomous Region and other ethnic Tibetan areas in neighboring provinces. Recent regulations restricting Tibetan language education, strict controls over the practice of Tibetan Buddhism, the arrests of prominent non-political Tibetans, and the heavy security presence reflect the difficult human rights situation there today. The forcible removal of monks from Kirti Monastery is also a cause for deep concern.

View full statemenT


June 2, 2011
Testimony by Daniel Baer, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on Status of implementation of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002

[Excerpt]

We are extremely concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in China and in particular in the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas. Recent regulations restricting Tibetan language education, strict controls over the practice of Tibetan Buddhism and the arrests of prominent non-political Tibetans reflect the difficult human rights situation there today.

Religious restrictions in Tibetan areas have dramatically worsened in recent years. Discriminatory religious policies exacerbated tensions between Han Chinese and Tibetan Buddhists and triggered the 2008 riots that claimed the lives of Han and Tibetan civilians and police officers. Chinese authorities control Tibet’s monasteries, including the number of monks and nuns and interfere in the process of recognizing reincarnate lamas. Monks and nuns are forced to attend regular political “patriotic education” sessions which sometimes include forced denunciations of the Dalai Lama. . Reports state that as many as 300 monks were forcibly removed from Kirti again in April of this year, and paramilitary forces still have the monastery on lockdown. To date, we have no further information about the welfare and whereabouts of those monks that were removed.

During the April 2011 Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing, Assistant Secretary Posner and I raised our concerns about China’s counterproductive policies in Tibetan areas of China, reiterated our call for a resumption of dialogue, and raised specific cases. We were joined in that effort by then-Ambassador Huntsman, who visited the Tibetan Autonomous Region in September 2010. The U.S. Mission in China has made visiting Tibetan areas and engaging on human rights and religious freedom in Tibetan areas a top priority. While in Beijing in April, we met with United Front Work Department, which handles Tibet policy for the Chinese Government, and pressed the Chinese to set a date with Lodi Gyari for the next round of talks. We also met with Minister Wang Zuo’an [WONG ZHUO AHN] from the State Administration of Religious Affairs. Separately, we provided to Chinese authorities a comprehensive list of individuals from across China who have been arrested or are missing; that list included many Tibetans, including six cases that we specifically mentioned in our meetings.

View full statement


April 14, 2011
Question Taken, Daily Press Briefing
Mark C Toner, Acting Deputy Department Spokesman, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC

QUESTION: Mark, several Tibetan exile groups are alleging that the Chinese have a Tibetan monastery, Buddhist monastery, under siege at a place called Kirti, that they’re not letting food in and that are threatening to come in and take the – take away the monks of, apparently, military age. Anything on that?

MR. TONER: Yeah. Well, we have seen that Chinese security forces have cordoned off the Kirti monastery in Sichuan Province. They’ve also imposed onerous restrictions on the monks and the general public, and we believe these are inconsistent with internationally recognized principles of religious freedom and human rights. We continue to monitor the situation closely and are obviously concerned by it.

QUESTION: Is this --

QUESTION: Have you spoken with the Chinese on this issue?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. TONER: Yes.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MR. TONER: I believe we’ve raised it with the Chinese, as we would raise any human rights concerns.

QUESTION: Here in --

MR. TONER: I don’t know.

QUESTION: (Off mike.)

April 14, 2011, Daily Press Briefing

Germany

January 24, 2012
Press release (Translated by ICT)
Human Rights Commissioner expresses concern about situation in Chinese province of Sichuan

In the region of Luhuo of the Chinese province of Sichuan, which is inhabited by Tibetans, there were clashes when Tibetans were arrested while distributing leaflets. There were deaths and injured persons. The state-run news agency Xinhua has confirmed the incident.

Referring to this, the German Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Markus Loening, stated the following today (24 January 24, 2012) in Berlin:

“I am very concerned about reports of Tibetans being killed and injured yet again during demonstrations. Peaceful demonstrations are guaranteed by the right of freedom of speech. They should also stay peaceful.

I demand that the Chinese government to respect this right. I also urge that the injured persons may receive medical care, without fear of being arrested.

Measures against the Tibetan population, which violate internationally recognized human rights, must be put to an end.

I call on the Chinese government to act in a de-escalative manner in view of the tense situation in this region and to respect the culture and religion of the Tibetans. The self-immolations of the past months demonstrate in a tragic way the desperation of some Tibetans about their situation.”



October 21, 2011
DPA press release (Translated by ICT)
\"Federal government \'horrified\' at self-immolations in Tibet

The federal government is \'horrified\' at the rising number of self-immolations in the Tibetan regions of Southwest-China. The foreign office urged China on Friday to \'shape their policies in a way that existing tensions are relieved.\' It asked the Dalai Lama - the religious head of the Tibetans - to discourage young monks and nuns from further self-immolations.

Out of protest against the Chinese rule in Tibet, at least nine persons have self-immolated in the Tibetan region of Sichuan province since March. For the first time this week a young nun was among the Tibetans who self-immolated. The center of tensions is the monastery of Kirti on the edges of Aba town (Tib.: Ngaba).

The speaker of the foreign ministry, Andreas Peschke, said, the federal government had repeatedly urged China to allow for transparency and access to the monastery. The federal government was \'in permanent contact on different levels\'. At the same time, he asked the Dalai Lama to excert his influence so that \"these young monks do not continue to go this terrible path.\"

 
United Kingdom

January 25, 2012
The Foreign Office

Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne has urged the Chinese government to exercise restraint following reports that Chinese security forces opened fire on protestors.

\"I am deeply concerned at reports that Chinese security forces have fired upon protesters on two occasions in Tibetan areas of Sichuan, resulting in casualties. I urge the Chinese government to exercise restraint, to release full details of the incidents, and to work to resolve the underlying grievances.”


December 7, 2011
UK House of Commons held a debate on the crisis in Tibet
Henry Bellingham, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

On December 7, 2011, the UK House of Commons held a debate on the crisis in Tibet. Questions and debate came from Members of Parliament Simon Hughes, Jonathan Edwards, Nic Dakin, Cathy Jamieson and Jeremy Corbyn. Henry Bellingham responded for the government, who also addressed many aspects of the Tibet issue. The questions and full response can be found at parliament.uk. Mr. Bellingham\'s remarks on the self-immolations is as follows:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Henry Bellingham):

The Government are seriously concerned about recent reports of self-immolations among nuns in the Tibetan areas of Sichuan province. We have closely followed those reports and other developments in the region. Let me describe the situation as it stands today. We are aware of 11 confirmed instances of monks and nuns in the Tibetan areas of Sichuan province who have self-immolated since March, and we know that four of those people died. We are aware of reports of a number of other attempted self-immolations, including one within the Tibetan autonomous region on 1 December, although those have not yet been confirmed.

The incidents began with the self-immolation on 16 March of Phuntsok, a monk at the Kirti monastery in Aba county, Sichuan. His immolation sparked a number of demonstrations and protests in the area, which by 12 April had led to a stand-off at the Kirti monastery between locals and monks on the one hand and Chinese security forces on the other. That ended on 21 April, when about 300 monks were removed from the monastery by the security forces. Their location and legal status has not been confirmed by the Chinese Government. Six of the 10 subsequent immolations have been by monks, or former monks, linked to the Kirti monastery.

We understand that there continues to be a high security presence at the monastery, and that a significant number of its monks have been dispersed away from the monastery grounds. The other immolations have been by two nuns, one in Aba county and the other in Daofu county, and two monks, one in Daofu county and one in Ganzi county - all in Sichuan province.

The Dalai Lama has made several public statements about the immolations, which he has said are the result of human rights violations caused by discriminatory Chinese policies in the region. The Chinese Government, on the other hand, have stated that the immolations are “politically motivated”, and that the Tibetan community in exile should be held responsible.

I assure my right hon. Friend, and other hon. Members, that the Government have been following developments closely. In terms of making a strong statement, as recently as 29 November my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said that we should urge the Chinese Government to work with local monasteries and communities to resolve the grievances that have led to these self-immolations.

Furthermore, during his visit to China in November, my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne), the Minister of State, raised his concern about the immolations with Fu Ying, the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister. He also wrote to the Chinese ambassador about the situation at the Kirti monastery, asking for information and calling for restraint. Officials have raised their concerns with the Chinese embassy in London and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing.

At the 17th session of the UN Human Rights Council in June this year, the EU issued a statement calling on the Chinese authorities to refrain from the use of force in dealing with the situation at the Kirti monastery, and to allow independent observers on to the site. British embassy officials have kept in frequent contact with the Foreign Affairs office in Sichuan and with local public security bureau offices, regarding access to those areas.

British diplomats were able to access neighbouring Tibetan areas in October, but we understand that access to the Kirti monastery remains severely limited. I assure my right hon. Friend that we will continue to urge the Chinese authorities to allow access to Tibetan areas for foreign diplomats and journalists, just as we will continue on a regular basis to raise the case of the Panchen Lama.


November 29, 2011
Oral Answers to Questions, House of Commons
Mr. William Hague, The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

NIC DAKIN (Scunthorpe) (Lab): What representations he has made to the Chinese Government following recent self-immolations in Tibet. [83284]

THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE (Mr William Hague): The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne), raised our concerns about the increasing number of self-immolations in Tibetan areas with the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister in Beijing earlier this month.

NIC DAKIN: I advise the House of my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. Recently, I met the Dalai Lama, who made clear his concern that all involved should work for a peaceful solution in line with the middle way. Does he share that approach?

MR HAGUE: We are seriously concerned about recent reports that young monks and nuns in Tibetan areas of Szechuan province have immolated themselves. As I said, we have taken that up with the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, and with the Chinese embassy in London. We encourage, of course, the resolution of grievances that have led to that situation. We will continue to encourage the Chinese Government to take that constructive approach.

SIR MALCOLM RIFKIND (Kensington) (Con): As the Chinese Government have been able to recognise and respect the autonomy of both Hong Kong and Macau in the People’s Republic, should they not allow autonomy for Tibet, to ensure that, within the People’s Republic, its unique culture and identity are properly respected and recognised, and will the Government try to encourage it to do so?

MR HAGUE: My right hon. and learned Friend makes a very fair point indeed. As he knows, we recognise Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China, but we call for meaningful dialogue between the representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities in the interests of autonomy in future. Of course, we always call for respect for human rights.

MARTIN HORWOOD (Cheltenham) (LD): I am sure that the Foreign Secretary welcomed China’s recent recognition of the aspirations and rightful demands of the Syrian people. Does he think that that is a positive development, as China may be beginning to realise that repression does not deliver genuine stability, and it should have the confidence to recognise the aspirations and rightful demands of the Tibetan people, too?

MR HAGUE: Such language is positive and I continue to believe, as I said in the House yesterday, that the veto of our proposed UN resolution on Syria by Russia and China was a mistake and did not take into account the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria. On the question of Tibet, we encourage the meaningful dialogue of which I spoke a moment ago.

Oral answers to questions (Foreign and Commonwealth Office): View full transcript


October 21, 2011
Extract from Foreign and Commonwealth Office update regarding Tibet

\"On 15 August, a 29-year-old monk, Tsewang Norbu, from Nyitso Monastery in Tawu County, in Western Sichuan’s Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, died after setting himself on fire, apparently in protest against China’s policies in the region. On 2 September, three monks from Kirti Monastery were sentenced to between 10 and 13 years in prison for their alleged role in assisting a similar self-immolation in Ngaba County, Sichuan. We understand at least ten monks have now been imprisoned in connection to these incidents. The Chinese state news agency reported two subsequent self-immolations at the Kirti Monastery on 26 September. We have raised these incidents with the Chinese Embassy in London and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing. British Embassy officials in China make regular visits to Tibetan areas, and have kept in frequent contact with the Foreign Affairs Office in Sichuan and local Public Security Bureau offices regarding access to these areas.\"

The 2010 Foreign & Commonwealth Office Report

Australia

November 3, 2011
Michael Danby MP, Melbourne Ports, Australian Labor Party
Parliament House, Canberra

[Excerpt]

Since March this year, 10 young Tibetans, including seven monks from the Kirti Monastery in Ngaba, have set themselves alight to protest the Chinese government\'s restrictions on their religious and political freedom. Chinese authorities are using extreme force in the crackdown on the Kirti Monastery, where they are enforcing a \'patriotic re-education campaign\' and have imposed an indefinite ban on religious activities at that critical monastery. The number of monks in the monastery has gone from 2,500 to around 400. Since March Ngaba has seen the presence of civilian and military personnel patrolling the area.

Yesterday the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion, Heiner Bielefeldt, said: “Intimidation of the lay and monastic community must be avoided, and the right of members of the monastic community and the wider community to freely practice their religion, should be fully respected by the Chinese Government.”

The restrictive and repressive measures enforced on the monks at Kirti include security raids and surveillance with police presence inside and outside the monastery to monitor religious activities. Over 300 monks have been disappeared by the Chinese authorities for “patriotic re-education” and many of them remain missing and unheard from by their families. A recent Human Rights Watch study found that per capita annual spending on public security in Ngaba was five times the average spent per person on public security in non-Tibetan areas of Sichuan.

The US State Department has called on China to respect human rights and the rights of Tibetans since the nine young Tibetans have set themselves on fire as a result of these restrictive Chinese practices. The US State Department said: “We urge Chinese leaders to address counterproductive policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions; and to protect Tibet\'s unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity.”

The crackdown on Tibetan monks since 2008 has been brutal. Beijing continues to restrict foreign journalists from travelling to Tibetan areas, jam radio broadcasts of Voice of America and Radio Free Asia\'s Tibetan and Chinese language services. This is part of a strategy to eliminate the remnants of Tibetan identity and cultural heritage. The Chinese authorities continue to repress Tibetan culture.

On 19 October 2010, a decision was made to replace Tibetan with Mandarin as the main medium of instruction in Tibetan schools in the Qinghai province. Freedom of movement of monks and nuns is extremely limited within Lhasa and Tibetan areas of Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan. Last year in the Tibetan areas of Sichuan province, the Chinese government reportedly continued to remove monks under the age of 18, unregistered monks and monks and nuns from outside the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The process of eliminating Tibetan culture and the removal of monks and nuns is a direct violation of the freedom of religion. The Australian government is deeply concerned about reports of self-immolations by monks and nuns. Australian officials last week made renewed representations in Canberra and Beijing to their Chinese counterparts about these reports. Our embassy in Beijing has raised our concerns about reports of the continuing crackdown around the monastery and the province and increased security measures in the Tibetan areas. I entreat the Chinese authorities to respect the religious rights of Tibetan monks and to cease their repressive actions against those in the Kirti Monastery.

 
Canada

November 9, 2011
House of Commons, Ottawa, Canada

Four Canadian members of Parliament representing all four federal political parties, spoke up for Tibet in the Canadian House of Commons on 2 November in solidarity with the Tibetan people.

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP): Mr. Speaker, as a member of Parliament, I rise with pride today, but also with solemnity, on the occasion of marking a vigil which is taking place outside these doors. Canadian Tibetans are in vigil in solidarity with so many Tibetans who are experiencing oppression due to the Chinese government policies toward Tibet. The desperation of these people has now led to self-immolation acts, an act of desperation for anyone who understands Buddhist religion and culture. This is the sign that things have become a crisis for those in Tibet. In the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, “We must find a peaceful way forward”. The European parliament, just days ago, October 27, passed a resolution calling on China to act. I would urge all Hon. Members to join with the European Union and help protect religious rights in Tibet.

Mr. Wayne Marston (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, NDP): Mr. Speaker, today, Tibetans and supporters from around the world are gathering to take part in a global day of action. From Zurich, to San Diego, to Vancouver, to right outside our doors, people are coming together to seek justice for the people of Tibet. Ten young Tibetans have set themselves on fire in eastern Tibet since March 2011. In fact, eight since September. These unprecedented and truly desperate acts are a cry to the outside world for help. China has intensified its violent crackdown in Ngaba and across Tibet. Tibetan monasteries continue to be sacked and monks continue to be sentenced without fair trial. It is time for the government to act. It is time for the Government of Canada to take a lead in coordinating an international response to condemn the Chinese government\'s repressive measures against the Tibetans. Canada should also work to ensure the United Nations to immediately send a fact finding mission to Ngaba to assess the situation. We cannot afford to waste another day.

Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, 10 young Tibetans have set themselves ablaze, a set of unprecedented and desperate actions, to protest the Chinese repression of Tibetan rights and assaults on the monks and nuns of Tibetan monasteries. Accordingly, we call on the Chinese authorities to release those imprisoned simply because they exercised their right to freedom of religion and expression, to cease and desist from their assaults on the Tibetan people, and to enter into dialogue with the Tibetan leadership. We call on the Canadian government, in concert with world leaders, on this global day of action, to stand in solidarity with the Tibetan people to condemn the repression by Chinese authorities and to nurture dialogue with the Tibetan leadership with a view to protecting the human security of the Tibetan people.

Mr. Gordon Brown (Leeds—Grenville, CPC): Mr. Speaker, today Tibetans and supporters have gathered outside this very building in a desperate cry to stop the crackdown on religious freedom in their region. Canada has expressed its serious concerns about the human rights situation in China, including continuing restrictions on the freedoms of expression, association, religion and belief of ethnic Tibetans. We remain concerned about the arbitrary detention and treatment of political prisoners in Tibet and have raised the issue of Tibetans and other religious minorities in China in bilateral meetings and on the international stage, including at the United Nations General Assembly. Our government takes the issue of religious freedom in China and around the world very seriously. The freedoms of religious belief and practice are at the heart of our principled foreign policy. We do not hesitate to raise such issues as part of mutually respectful, mature dialogue between our two countries and encourage substantive dialogue between Chinese leaders and religious minorities.

View statements on Tibet.net

 


Poland

October 28, 2011
Below is part of letter of reply by Deputy Director of Asia and Pacific Desk on Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Tibetan Community in Poland’s appeal – Original in Polish, translated by Tibetan community in Poland.

\"Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the utmost care and concern is watching developments around the Kirti monastery. Particularly moving is information regarding new acts of self-immolation among young Tibetans - their tragic loss of life and are the cause of sincere sorrow of Polish society.

Poland supports the establishment of dialogue between the authorities of the PRC and the Dalai Lama\'s representatives, which would lead to an agreement allowing the Tibetans to nurture their cultural identity, while respecting the territorial integrity of China. We also believe that it is necessary to the international community\'s dialogue with the PRC on the observance of generally accepted human rights standards. Poland, in dealing with their European partners, consistently supports the fact that human rights was one of the important dimensions of the EU\'s relations with Beijing. This position was presented during preparations for this year\'s Summit EU - China.\"

 
Switzerland

November 22, 2011
Swiss Foreign Ministry

The foreign ministry told the Swiss news agency that “the self-immolations as such and the desperation they express are very worrying”. The spokesman added that Switzerland regularly raised human rights issues, and particularly that of Tibet, with China.

View full article

France

January 12, 2012
French Minister of Foreign Affairs answers question relating to Tibet immolations
Answer by French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alain Juppé to the Question 19985 tabled by Senator Mme Christiane Demontès on the situation on Tibet (Original in French, translated by ICT)

France is worried about the situation in Tibet and the escalation of tensions which have been observed since few months, in particular in the area of the Kirti monastery, China\'s Sichuan province, where violent incidents took place. France deplores the death by immolation of young Tibetan monks. The extreme character of their gesture reflects the desperation of their situation. France is deeply concerned about the rapid increase in the number of immolations since the end of September 2011. In concert with its European partners, France has expressed its concern to the Chinese authorities and has urged them to lift restrictions on access to the area of the monastery imposed on foreigners, including diplomats. France, and the EU, calls upon both parties to dialogue and is convinced that dialogue is the only way to reach a durable solution, which fully respects the cultural and spiritual identity of Tibetans, within the framework of the People\'s Republic of China.

 
European Union

January 18, 2012
Oral answer by Danish Foreign Minister Mr. Villy Søvndal to formal question by Representative Peter Skaarup (Danish People’s Party) during the parliamentary debate (Excerpts translated by ICT)

Peter Skaarup (Danish People\'s Party): Question: Will the Minister, just as the British Foreign Secretary William Hague has done, raise the issue with the Chinese government that several monks in Tibet have set fire to themselves in protest against Chinese repression of the Tibetan population, and will the Foreign Minister ensure that Denmark in the future marks its rejection of the oppression of Tibetans?

The Foreign Minister (Villy Søvndal): I fully share the concern about the self-immolations of Tibetan monks since March 2011. According to the International Campaign, 16 monks have burned ​​themselves, with 11 deaths as a consequence. Self-immolation is indeed an extreme and also an extremely desperate step that should make us all reflect. The Dalai Lama has in connection with a previous isolated case of self-immolation dissociated himself from it, and he describes it as a practice deviating from a Buddhist view of life. I think this is important to add. From the Danish side we have several times, both bilaterally and through the EU, expressed our concern to the Chinese authorities over the actions by the Chinese authorities against the Tibetan monks in Sichuan province, where Kirti monastery is located and where the majority of the self-immolations have occurred.

On 9 October 2011 I met with the Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, and here I expressed myself clearly about the lack of possibilities for Tibetans to exercise their religion, their culture and their language, because from the Danish point of view this is something that is absolutely essential to be allowed to do. On Danish initiative, among others, the EU in the spring of 2011 contacted China on a high level, where the violent Chinese behavior was criticised and concern for the development was expressed. The question of the situation in the area of the Kirti monastery and the self-immolations was also on the agenda of the EU-China human rights dialogue in June 2011.

In early December, the EU again made a demarche to the Chinese authorities that Norway also joined. In the demarche, the EU expressed concern over self-immolations, that were precisely seen as an expression of the regime\'s lack of respect for Tibetans\' religious, linguistic and cultural rights, and we intend to continue to do so.

[…] I am completely sure that the Chinese authorities do not even for a second doubt what Denmark or the EU think. I am completely sure that they know that we are very concerned about the self-immolations and not least about the situation of the Tibetans in general and this is precisely because we have raised the issue during our meetings with them and generally have criticised the conditions that the Tibetans face and their lack of opportunities for expressing themselves religiously, culturally and linguistically. I believe that it is crucial to continue to address these issues with the Chinese when we meet and to leave our mark, participate in influencing and participate in adding pressure. Fortunately we are in a situation where we are not alone in doing this - where the EU also participates, and here it is clear that a message carries much greater weight when it is not just a country like Denmark that repeats these points of views but also the EU. So we will continue to work with this.

November 25, 2011
Letter from HR/VP - Lady Catherine Ashton in response to October 18 message from MEP Laszlo Tokes, Vice-President of the European Parliament and MEP Barbara Lochbihler, Chair, Subcommittee on Human Rights

[Excerpt]

I fully share your concerns over these shocking events. It has been clear for some time that measures implemented by the Chinese authorities appear seriously to undermine the religious and linguistic and cultural rights of the Tibetan minority. The EU raised the issue at the last EU-China human rights dialogue on 16 June. It expressed its concerns on a number of issues, including the increasing legal restrictions on religious practice in Tibet, the limitations on the teaching of the Tibetan language, the ongoing official campaign against Tibetan intellectuals and cultural figures, and the impact on Tibetan culture of the forced resettlement of nomads.

The EU also raised the situation at Kirti monastery, in particular the self-immolation of Phuntsog Jarutsang. It called on the Chinese authorities to allow all Tibetans, including monks, to exercise their cultural and religious rights without hindrance, and to refrain from the use of force against peaceful protest. The Chinese reply dismissed the EU’s concerns, and emphasized that Chinese policies in Tibet had led to significant economic development. China claimed that the self-immolation of Phuntsog Jarutsang represented an “organised plot” by the monks, for which the perpetrators had been sent for “legal awareness” education.

Since then, several more Tibetan monks have set fire to themselves. The fact that so many Tibetan monks have chosen to take such tragic steps demonstrates the profound and continuing depth of feeling among many Tibetans that their rights are not being respected. On my behalf, Commissioner Kroes underlined our concerns on this issue in the emergency Parliamentary debate of 27 October.

The EU remains fully engaged on this issue. It urges the Chinese authorities to refrain from implementing policies which undermine the religious, linguistic and cultural rights of the Tibetan minority. It urges them to address the root causes of the self-immolations – in particular the lack of genuine participation by the Tibetan population in the development policy in the region – and to enter into a meaningful dialogue with the representatives of the Tibetan minority.

November 24, 2011
Written question on self-immolation by young Tibetan monks

Question for written answer E-010915/2011 to the Commission Rule 117 Ramon Tremosa i Balcells (ALDE), Edward McMillan-Scott (ALDE), Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE) and Thomas Mann (PPE)

Subject: Written question on VP/HR - Complementary written question to the High Representative Lady Ashton regarding written answer P-009291/2011 about self-immolation by young Tibetan monks

While thanking the High Representative Lady Ashton for answering P-009291/2011 about self-immolation by young Tibetan monks, we still have few doubts in this regard. We would like to seek her help to answer fully those questions and address our concerns in order to have a comprehensive picture of the EU\'s position towards the current situation in China\'s Tibetan areas.

In particular:
Question 2: Has this use of self-immolation been discussed at the level of the COHOM and COASI?
Question 3: Has a position been taken or a reaction been given by the Commission and the European External Action Service?
Question 4: Is it the Vice-President/High Representative\'s intention to release a public statement of concern over the lack of respect for human rights in Tibet, which is leading to these extreme acts and desperate forms of protest?
Question 5: Will the EU raise this issue with China during the next EU-China summit and EU-China human rights dialogue?

With regard to Question 3, the fact that Lady Ashton \'took the opportunity to repeat the EU\'s consistent position on human rights\' in her two days of talks in Beijing with the Chinese leadership on 24 and 25 October 2011 does not explain whether a common position was taken by the Commission and the European External Action Service on the self-immolation by Tibetan monks and nuns, nor did she reflect on and inform us of possible actions by the EU mission on the ground.

Regarding Question 4, the High Representative did not say whether she intends to release a public statement of concern over the lack of respect for human rights in Tibet.

Finally, while it was reiterated that the EU discussed the self-immolation of Phuntsog Jarutsang and the punishment of other monks at Kirti monastery at the last EU-China human rights dialogue on 16 June 2011, it is not clear whether the European Union intends to raise this issue during the next EU-China Summit, thereby duly taking into account the 27 October 2011 EP resolution on this important issue.

November 9, 2011
Written question on EU-China Relations

Question for written answer E-009951/2011 to the Commission Rule 117 Morten Løkkegaard (ALDE)
Subject: EU-China relations – Tibet

Is the Commission urging China to deal with the current problem of Tibetan monks setting themselves on fire in protest at Chinese rule in Tibet, as a condition of further strengthening the EU-China trade relations?

November 7, 2011
Answer to written question on human rights in Tibet tabled by MEP Ramon Tremosa I Balcells (ALDE)

QUESTION: There is a deepening climate of fear in the Tibetan areas of Sichuan Province, as a result of the self-immolation of 5 young monks since March 2011. On 16 March 2011, 20-year-old Kirti monk Phuntsog died after setting fire to himself, leading to the current crackdown in the area. On 26 September, Lobsang Kelsang and Lobsang Kunchok, both believed to be around 18 years old, set fire to themselves while shouting ‘Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama’, in a protest also held in Ngaba county town. On 3 October, 17-year-old monk Kelsang Wangchuk immolated himself in Ngaba county town. He was carrying a photograph of the Dalai Lama and shouting slogans against the Chinese government when he set fire to himself in the main street. He is the third monk from Kirti monastery to set fire to himself in the past week. Likewise, in nearby Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, a 29-year-old monk named Tsewang Norbu died on 15 August after drinking petrol and setting fire to himself whilst calling for freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

Is the Vice-President/High Representative aware of this situation?
Has this use of self-immolation been discussed at the level of the COHOM and COASI?
Has a position been taken or a reaction been given by the Commission and the European External Action Service?
Is it the Vice-President/High Representative’s intention to release a public statement of concern over the lack of respect for human rights in Tibet, which is leading to these extreme acts and desperate forms of protest?
Will the EU raise this issue with China during the next EU-China summit and EU-China human rights dialogue?
HIGH REPRESENTATIVE ASHTON: The EU is fully aware and deeply concerned at the distressing events in the Tibetan areas. The EU raised the issue of rights of persons belonging to minorities – and in particular the self-immolation of Phuntsog Jarutsang and the punishment of other monks at Kirti monastery - at the last EU-China human rights dialogue on 16 June 2011. Since then, several more Tibetan monks have set fire to themselves. The fact that a growing number of Tibetan monks are choosing to take such tragic steps clearly demonstrates the profound and continuing depth of feeling among many Tibetans that their religious, linguistic and cultural rights are not being respected.

In her two days talks in Beijing with the Chinese leadership on 24 and 25 October 2011, High Representative Ashton took the opportunity to repeat the EU\'s consistent position on human rights.

October 27, 2011
Statement by MEP Thomas Mann, Chairman of the European Parliamnent’s cross-party Intergroup on Tibet

\"The situation in the Kirti monastery is alarming. Nine monks and one nun have seen no other way in their desperation but to resort to self-immolation. They wanted to make sure that we look at what is happening.\"

\"According to eye witnesses, Chinese security forces have surrounded Kirti monastery and prevented the delivery of water and food. Monks were taken away for a ‘patriotic re-education.’ We need to know what is happening and where these monks are, who have been taken to unknown locations. The dialogue with representatives of the Dalai Lama must begin anew. Tibet must become the top priority on all EU-China summits!\"

October 27, 2011
European Parliament resolution on Tibet, in particular self-immolation by nuns and monks

The European Parliament,
– having regard to its previous resolutions on China and Tibet, in particular its resolution of 5 November 2010(1)
– having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,
– having regard to Article 36 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, which guarantees all citizens the right to freedom of religious belief,
A. whereas respect for human rights, freedom of religion and freedom of association are founding principles of the EU and a priority of its foreign policy;
B. whereas the Chinese Government has imposed drastic restrictions on Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the Aba/Ngaba county prefecture in Sichuan province, and in other parts of the Tibetan plateau, including brutal security raids, arbitrary detention of monks, increased surveillance within monasteries and a permanent police presence inside the monasteries in order to monitor religious activities;
C. whereas these security measures are designed to curtail the right to free expression, freedom of association and freedom of religious belief in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries;
D. whereas Phuntsog (aged 20) and Tsewang Norbu (aged 29) died after setting fire to themselves, on 16 March and 15 August 2011 respectively, as a protest against restrictive Chinese policies in Tibet;
E. whereas Phuntsog’s younger brothers, Lobsang Kelsang and Lobsang Kunchok (both aged 18), set fire to themselves at the Aba/Ngaba county market on 26 September 2011, and whereas, although they survived, their present condition remains unclear;
F. whereas Dawa Tsering, a 38-year-old monk at Kardze Monastery, set fire to himself on 25 October 2011, whereas Chinese security personnel doused the flames and tried to take him away, whereas the monk is currently being protected by fellow monks at the monastery and whereas his condition is critical;
G. whereas Kelsang Wangchuk, a 17-year-old monk at Kirti Monastery, immolated himself on 3 October 2011 and was immediately carried away by Chinese soldiers, who extinguished the fire and beat him strenuously before taking him away, and whereas his current state of well-being and whereabouts are unknown;
H. whereas two former monks from Kirti, Choephel (aged 19) and Kayang (aged 18), clasped their hands together and set fire to themselves while calling for the return of the Dalai Lama and the right to religious freedom, and whereas they died following this protest;
I. whereas former Kirti monk Norbu Damdrul (aged 19), who set fire to himself on 15 October 2011, was the eighth Tibetan to self-immolate, and whereas his current whereabouts and state of well-being are unknown;
J. whereas on 17 October 2011 a nun from Ngaba Mamae Dechen Choekorling Nunnery, Tenzin Wangmo (aged 20), died, and whereas she was the first female to commit self-immolation;
K. whereas self-immolation can be seen as a form of protest and an expression of the increasing desperation felt by young Tibetans, especially within the community of Kirti Monastery;
L. whereas, whatever personal motivations may underlie these acts, they must be considered in the wider context of religious and political repression in Aba/Ngaba county, which can be traced back many years;
M. whereas the tightening of state control over religious practice via a series of regulations passed by the Chinese Government in 2007 has contributed to the desperation of Tibetans across the Tibetan plateau;
N. whereas current regulations have dramatically expanded state control over religious life, with many expressions of religious identity being subject to state approval and control, including the recognition of reincarnate lamas;
O. whereas a Chinese court sentenced three Tibetan monks to imprisonment over the death of their fellow monk Phuntsog, who set himself on fire on 16&

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