China Raps U.S. Resolution on Tibet

Posted March 28th, 2012 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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China has hit out at a U.S. Senate committee for approving a resolution saying it mourns Tibetans who have set themselves on fire and died in a wave of anti-China protests in the past year.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, speaking Wednesday in Beijing, said some U.S. Senators “confused right and wrong” in approving Tuesday's resolution in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The U.S. resolution says the committee deplores “the repressive policies targeting Tibetans” and urges Beijing to “resume a dialogue with Tibetan Buddhist leaders, including (Tibetan exiled spiritual leader) the Dalai Lama.”

The Chinese spokesman said Beijing remains “committed to protecting both the legitimate rights of people of all nationalities and their freedom of religious belief.” Hong also repeated accusations that “some” U.S. lawmakers are using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China's internal affairs.

At least 30 Tibetan monks, nuns and their supporters protesting Chinese policy toward Tibet and the Dalai Lama have set themselves on fire in the past year. At least 19 of the protesters have died, including a 27-year-old Tibetan exile who self-immolated Monday in New Delhi.

China routinely refers to the protesters as trained “terrorists” and accuses the Dalai Lama of orchestrating the protests from his exile home in the northern India. Beijing also argues it has provided substantial funding to upgrade Tibetan infrastructure and improve living conditions in Tibetan regions.

The Tibet resolution does not carry the weight of law and does not provide penalties for non-compliance. But it urges U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to seek a full accounting from Beijing on its ongoing crackdown, particularly at the flashpoint Kirti monastery in southwestern China's Sichuan province.