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China criticizes US Senate over Tibet resolution

September 22, 2008

The Associated Press
Sunday, September 21, 2008

BEIJING: China has rejected a Senate resolution urging Beijing to hold
serious talks with supporters of the Dalai Lama, saying the move shows
Washington supports Tibetan independence.

The bipartisan Senate resolution, passed Wednesday, also called for
China to allow more religious freedom in Tibet, which was rocked by
violent riots and anti-government protests earlier this year.

"The Tibet issue is China's internal affair, so is the Chinese
government's contact and dialogue with the Dalai Lama," Foreign Ministry
spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement posted on the ministry's Web
site late Saturday night.

The Tibetan capital of Lhasa exploded March 14 when monk-led protests
against Chinese rule turned violent. Ethnic Chinese residents were
attacked, and businesses, shops and vehicles were looted and torched.

The protests then spread into other areas of western China with large
ethnic Tibetan populations. Beijing has said 22 people died in the
violence, but Tibetan supporters say many times that number were killed
in the protests and subsequent military crackdown.

China has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan
religious leader, and his followers of instigating the unrest and trying
to derail the Beijing Olympic Games in August. Bowing to international
pressure, Beijing agreed to hold talks with the Dalai Lama's
representatives two times after the violence, but no progress has been

The U.S. resolution urges the Dalai Lama, his representatives and the
Chinese government "to begin earnest negotiations, without
preconditions, to provide for a mutually agreeable solution that
addresses the legitimate grievances of, and provides genuine autonomy
for, the Tibetan people."

Jiang said the bill was wrong and supported Tibetan independence.

"We urge the U.S. Senate to abide by the basic rules of international
relations, stop supporting and conniving with the Dalai Lama and
separatist forces for Tibet independence, and immediately stop wrongful
remarks and deeds that interfere into China's internal affairs and harm
the China-U.S. relations," she said.

The Tibetan protests in Lhasa and across western China posed the most
significant challenge to Chinese rule in nearly two decades. Similar
mass demonstrations in Lhasa in 1989 were also cut down by military force.

China poured tens of thousands of troops into Tibet and surrounding
provinces to quash the demonstrations. Its harsh response garnered
worldwide criticism, and several world leaders even threatened to
boycott the Beijing Olympics, which ended last month.

The Dalai Lama has said that despite China's harsh crackdown on the
March riots and protests, he still supports a solution of meaningful
autonomy for the Tibetan people under China's rule, not independence.
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