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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China Protests U.S. Vote on Tibet

March 15, 2009

By EDWARD WONG, New York Times

Published: March 12, 2009

BEIJING “ China has lodged a formal complaint with the Obama
administration over a resolution passed Wednesday by the United States
House of Representatives urging China to “cease its repression of the
Tibetan people” and “to respond to the Dalai Lama’s initiatives to find
a lasting solution to the Tibetan issue.”

“The Chinese government and people are strongly dissatisfied with and
resolutely opposed to the approval of a Tibet resolution by the U.S.
Congress,” Ma Zhaoxu, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said at a news
conference on Thursday as he discussed the formal complaint. The
resolution, he said, “makes groundless accusations against China’s
religious policies” and “rudely intervenes in China’s internal affairs.”

The nonbinding resolution, timed to mark the 50th anniversary of a
failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, passed 422 to 1. The
Chinese regard the tensions in Tibet as an internal problem and chafe at
foreign support for the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader forced to flee
Tibet when the 1959 uprising was crushed. The Dalai Lama advocates for
Tibetan autonomy, though not independence. Beijing accuses him of
supporting separatism.

The anniversary is a particularly sensitive time for Tibet. An uprising
there this time last year was the largest rebellion against Chinese rule
in decades. Beijing, fearful of a repeat, has locked down much of
western China with troops and police officers.

Xinhua, the state news agency, ran several articles and editorials on
its Web site denouncing the resolution. One said it “disregards the
history and reality of the Chinese autonomous region by trying to
justify Tibet’s dark ages, glorify the treacherous Dalai Lama and
baselessly criticize China’s religious policy.”

On Tuesday, the Dalai Lama, 73, attacked Chinese policies in Tibet in
unusually harsh terms, saying China had transformed his homeland into
a “hell on earth.”

The row over the resolution is the second one to emerge between China
and the United States this week. On Monday, the Pentagon said it had
lodged a formal complaint with Beijing because five Chinese ships had
harassed an American surveillance vessel in international waters off the
southern coast of China. The Chinese maintain that the American vessel,
the Impeccable, was illegally conducting surveillance in waters under
their jurisdiction.

The naval spat and tensions over Tibet come as China’s foreign minister,
Yang Jiechi, is meeting with American leaders in Washington. He was
scheduled to meet with President Obama on Thursday. In a meeting on
Wednesday, Mr. Yang and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed
Tibet and the naval dispute.

The Tibetan press for greater autonomy draws bipartisan support among
American politicians: The resolution on Tibet was written by Rush Holt,
a Democrat from New Jersey, and had strong backing from House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi. The two met with the Dalai Lama in March 2008 as part of a
congressional trip to India.

In 2007, former President George W. Bush, a Republican, presented the
Dalai Lama with the Congressional Gold Medal.
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