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Obama should focus on Tibet's future and resist Chinese appeals to reformulate U.S. policy

November 15, 2009

International Campaign for Tibet (ICT)
ICT Press Release
November 13, 2009

The International Campaign for Tibet calls on
President Obama to use the opportunity of next
week's summit in China to focus on Tibet's future
and to dismiss attempts by Beijing to manipulate
U.S. policy. On November 6, 2009, the South China
Morning Post reported that the Chinese government
is asking the Obama Administration to state that
"Tibet is part of China's territory and the US opposes Tibetan independence."

"President Obama's engagement with Chinese
leaders should be consistent with established
U.S. policy and his desire for forward movement
in the Tibetan-Chinese dialogue," said Mary Beth
Markey, Vice President of International Advocacy
at the International Campaign for Tibet.

It is the policy of the United States that "the
Tibet Autonomous Region and Tibetan autonomous
counties and prefectures are part of the People's Republic of China."

"The request from the Chinese government is not a
matter of semantics but part of a concerted
Chinese strategy to deflect international support
for a resolution to the Tibet issue by seeking
legitimacy for its claim to Tibet," said Ms.
Markey.  "President Obama should urge Chinese
leaders to look to the future, as the Dalai Lama
has done, and work purposefully toward a
resolution that meets the aspirations of both the Tibetan and Chinese peoples."

An Obama Administration statement that Tibet is a
part of China's territory could be interpreted as
recognition of Chinese sovereignty over Tibet
prior to the 17 Point Agreement between the
Tibetan and PRC governments (1951).  A statement
that the United States opposes Tibetan
independence could be interpreted as foreclosing
any question of the past or future independence of Tibet in principle.

Press contact:
Kate Saunders
Communications Director, International Campaign for Tibet
email: press@savetibet.org
Tel: + 44 (0) 7947 138612
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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