China-Tibet: A Challenge to the
Conscience of The World
London, UK - 21st March 2008, 21:52 GMT
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The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi,
has called on the international community to denounce China's rule in Tibet
describing China's crackdown as "a challenge to the conscience of the
world." Pelosi spoke out while holding talks in northern India with
the Dalai Lama. "If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not
speak out against China's oppression in Tibet, we have lost all moral authority
to speak out on human rights," Pelosi said in Dharamsala, the seat
of the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile in India. "There is a great
relationship that the US shares with the Dalai Lama. When he was a small
boy, the then US President gave him a gold watch. That was over 60 years
ago," Pelosi recalled. She called for an international investigation
into the violence in Tibet and dismissed China's claim that the Dalai Lama
was behind the fighting as making "no sense." Pelosi was the one
who lobbied for conferment of the US Congressional Medal on the Dalai Lama
last year, a move that China had said would "gravely undermine"
relations between the two countries and have a "terrible impact"
on bilateral relations.
Clearly upset with Pelosi's remarks in regard to Tibet, the Chinese Ambassador
to India, Zhang Yan said, "We oppose any country, any organisation,
or any person to interfere in China's internal affairs. Tibet is China's
internal affair." He sternly warned that "Any attempt to cause
trouble for China is doomed to fail." Dismissing the Dalai Lama's claim
that he had nothing to do with the violence in Lhasa, the Chinese envoy
said, "We judge a person by his deeds, not words. Recent incidents
in Lhasa and other parts of the world have shown the nature of his intention.
He is a political activist. We must not be misled by him. He is the head
of all exiled Tibetans. Why can't he stop them?"
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has held telephone talks with her
Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, in which she urged Beijing to show restraint.
But Yang told her the protesters were trying to sabotage both the Olympics
and social stability -- and reiterated China's position that it blamed the
Dalai Lama for the violence. China's response to the riots has drawn worldwide
attention to its human rights record, threatening to overshadow Beijing's
attempts to project an image of unity and prosperity in the lead-up to the
Thousands of Chinese troops continue to push into Tibetan areas of western
China to contain unrest. Anti-China protests began on 10th March in Lhasa
and gradually escalated, spreading to Tibetan communities in neighbouring
Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai provinces. The Chinese authorities are continuing
to tighten security following days of protests by Tibetans in the main city,
Lhasa, and in surrounding provinces. China is not allowing foreign journalists
into Tibet. Troops have also sealed off towns in the surrounding areas where
unrest has taken place. His Holiness The Dalai Lama -- who in 1989 won the
Nobel Peace Price for his commitment to non-violence in the quest for Tibetan
self-rule -- has called for talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao.
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