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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."

U.N. Shirks Tibet, Despite Plea From Dalai Lama

March 19, 2008

BY BENNY AVNI - Staff Reporter of the Sun
The New York Sun
March 18, 2008


UNITED NATIONS — Even as the Dalai Lama called for international
involvement and a U.N. investigation into violent clashes over the
weekend in Tibet, U.N. Security Council members are carefully avoiding
the subject, saying yesterday that the issue "does not belong" in U.N.
deliberations.

The Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, Wang Guangya, said the
anti-government demonstrations in Lhasa, in which at least 13 people
were killed, were "definitely" not discussed at a luncheon yesterday
with Secretary-General Ban, nor should such an "internal issue" have
been raised there. Mr. Wang also told The New York Sun that Tibetan
"troublemakers" were seeking to sabotage the Olympic Games this summer
in Beijing.

Secretary of State Rice has called on China to exercise restraint, as
has Mr. Ban. Both have said they are keeping a close eye on the
situation, which some observers have warned could lead to major unrest
on the eve of the Olympics. Wary of a possible diplomatic clash with
China, however, America has not called for international action to
address the Tibet situation.

During the luncheon yesterday with the 15-member Security Council, "We
discussed the situations in Darfur, Sudan, Kosovo, Chad. Also Somalia
and Cyprus," Mr. Ban told reporters. He said the United Nations would
monitor the situation in Tibet and called on China to exercise restraint
and for all concerned to "avoid further confrontation and violence." But
he said no one raised the issue at the monthly luncheon get-together.

China has resisted putting topics it considers "internal" on the
Security Council's agenda, including the violence in Darfur and mass
arrests in Burma. The Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly
Churkin, who is serving as council president this month, said yesterday
that Tibet is "clearly not a matter for the Security Council, or for the
United Nations."

For years the Security Council has held a monthly briefing on "the
situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question," and
at the United Nations the term "occupied territories" is applied
exclusively to areas under Israeli control. Mr. Ban referred yesterday
to "the Tibet autonomous region of China" when he spoke about the
protests in the country, which since 1959 has been fully controlled by
China.

Mr. Ban said the United Nations has no independent confirmation of the
casualty count in the aftermath of the weekend's unrest. Rebutting
reports of up to 80 deaths among the demonstrators, the
Chinese-appointed governor of Tibet, Champa Phuntsok, denied yesterday
any use of lethal force. He put the death toll at 13, most of them
Chinese businessmen, according to wire reports. The international press
has been barred from independently covering events inside Tibet.

Earlier yesterday, Mr. Ban met with Mr. Wang to discuss the situation.
"I told him of the situation and about the violence that is created by
this handful of elements, and that now the situation was restored to
normal," Mr. Wang said.

"I don't think anyone will raise it at the Security Council," he said.
An "internal matter" concerning "violent actions taken by the separatist
elements there, which did a lot of damage to the population and the
properties," should not be discussed by international bodies, he added.
The confrontation between the Tibetan demonstrators and Chinese
authorities is nothing but a "provocation" that is "deliberately being
used to undermine and sabotage the Olympic Games," he said. "I don't
think they will succeed."

The Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, who has called on
his supporters to act with restraint, is calling for an international
investigation. Beijing "has accused His Holiness of masterminding the
demonstrations," a spokesman for the Tibetan government in exile,
Thubten Samphel, told the Voice of America. "So because of these
conflicting views, His Holiness said that maybe a body from the United
Nations may visit Tibet and find out what the reality is, whether the
demonstrations have been instigated from outside, and what the real
concerns of the Tibetan people are."

America has "really urged the Chinese over several years to find a way
to talk with the Dalai Lama, who is a figure of authority, who is not a
separatist, and to find a way to engage him and bring his moral weight
to a more sustainable and better solution of the Tibet issue," Ms. Rice
said yesterday in Washington.
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