US Senator: China Cannot Avoid ‘Arab Spring’

Posted February 4th, 2012 at 12:30 pm (UTC-5)
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A leading U.S. senator and one-time presidential candidate is warning China, “the Arab Spring is coming.”

Republican Senator John McCain made the comment to Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun Saturday during a high level security conference in Munich.

McCain, in his Arab Spring warning, referenced the recent self-immolations by Tibetan monks to protest Chinese rule in Tibet. He said, ” there is not a way that you will be able to stifle it completely because of these devices,” while pointing to a mobile phone.

McCain also raised concern about China's activities in the tense South China Sea. Several East Asian countries claim part of the sea, which holds abundant natural resources, but China claims the entire area as its own.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang told the conference that as his country continues to develop it has a bigger stake in peace and stability. He said, “There is no reason for us to upset the situation.”

China seized control of Tibet more than 50 years ago, forcing the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan leaders to flee to northern India. Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of wanting to separate Tibet from the rest of China, a charge that he denies.

Regional tensions intensified almost a year ago, when a young Buddhist monk demanding the return of the exiled Dalai Lama set himself on fire and died at a monastery in Sichuan. Since then, at least 15 other monks, former monks and nuns have died in similar protests against Chinese rule.

Many Tibetans accuse the Chinese government of attempting to erode their culture and faith, and resent the large-scale migration of China's ethnic Han majority into Tibetan areas.