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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

US 'concerned' about prison terms for Tibet protesters

May 1, 2008

WASHINGTON 30 April 2008 (AFP) — The United States said Wednesday it was
"concerned" about reports that China has sentenced 30 people to between
three years and life in prison for their role over last month's Tibetan

"We have seen the reports. We are concerned. We don't think that anyone
should break the law, but we also believe in freedom of expression and
assembly," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

Perino also renewed Washington's appeals for Beijing to open talks with
representatives of the Dalai Lama spiritual leader over the situation in
his homeland of Tibet, saying he might be able to "calm the tensions" there.

"We are encouraged the Chinese have said that they would open up a
dialogue with the Dalai Lama's representatives, we hope that those
conversations are productive," said the spokeswoman.

"We think that it is in China's interest that they continue to have
those, because the Dalai Lama is a man of peace and someone that, I
think, that if they were open to, could help calm the tensions in the
area," she said.

China jailed 30 people on Tuesday for between three years and life for
taking part in last month's unrest, state-run Xinhua news agency
reported earlier, describing the proceedings as "public" trials.

The sentences drew immediate condemnation from Human Rights Watch.

"Guilty or innocent, these Tibetans are entitled to a fair trial.
Instead, they were tried on secret evidence behind closed doors and
without the benefit of a meaningful defense by lawyers they'd chosen,"
said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director for the group.

Protests that began on March 10 in Lhasa to mark the anniversary of a
1959 uprising against China's rule of Tibet later escalated into violent
rioting across the city and the Tibetan plateau.

Human Rights Watch cited "severe flaws" in the Tibet regional
authorities' handling of the protests, which the group said precluded
fair trials.

They included the secrecy of the proceedings, failure by authorities to
distinguish between peaceful and violent protests, and official
statements at the time of the suspects' arrest that assumed their guilt
rather than their innocence, it said.

Tibet's government-in-exile says more than 200 people have been killed
in a huge Chinese military and police crackdown on the protests.

Chinese authorities have acknowledged killing only one Tibetan in the
crackdown -- a man shot by police trying to arrest him on Monday -- and
have blamed Tibetan "rioters" for the deaths of about 20 people.
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