US Urges China to Protect Tibetan Monks

Posted September 27th, 2011 at 8:25 pm (UTC-5)
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The United States has expressed concern about reports that two monks at a monastery in western China set themselves on fire to protest Chinese government policy there.

A spokeswoman for the State Department, Victoria Nuland, Tuesday urged the Chinese government to respect the rights of Tibetans and to address policies that have created tension in their areas. She also asked Beijing to protect Tibetans' unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity.

Nuland said the United States continues to urge the Chinese government to allow access to Tibetan areas of China for journalists and diplomats.

Tibetan exiles reported Monday that two monks from the Ngaba Kirti monastery in Sichuan province set themselves on fire Monday in an apparent anti-Beijing protest. Media reports said one of the monks died, while the other is in critical condition.

The pro-Tibetan website Phayul said one of the monks is the brother of a young Buddhist who died after setting himself on fire at the monastery in March. That protest marked the third anniversary of anti-China unrest and a Chinese crackdown in the same area.

Official Chinese media have not reported on Monday's protests.