Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the United States Department of State.
DHARAMSHALA, February 8: Even as China intensified its crackdown on the self-immolation protests in Tibet with the mass detention of 70 Tibetans, the United State called on China to allow Tibetans express their grievances freely.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland appealed the Chinese leadership to hold substantive dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s representatives without preconditions to find a lasting solution to the problem in Tibet.
“We are deeply concerned about the overall deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas, including not only the tragic self-immolations, but also that criminal laws have been used to deal with people who have associated with those people,” Nuland said.
“There are deep grievances within the Tibetan population which are not being addressed openly and through dialogue by the Chinese Government.”
Chinese courts in eastern Tibet have further sentenced several Tibetans to lengthy jail terms, including a death sentence with a two-year reprieve, for their “crimes” in connection with the fiery protests.
Since 2009, as many as 99 Tibetans have set themselves on fire protesting China’s rule and demanding freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.
Responding to a question, Nuland said that the new US Secretary of State John Kerry in his introductory teleconference call with his Chinese counterpart raised the issue of human rights violations in the country.
“In almost every encounter we have at a senior level with Chinese officials we raise our concerns about human rights in general, about Tibet specifically,” Nuland added.
“We urge the Chinese Government to engage in a substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representative without preconditions as a means of addressing the grievances that the people of Tibet have and to relieve tensions. And we continue to call on Chinese Government officials to permit Tibetans to express their grievances freely, publicly, and peacefully, without fear of retribution.”