Obama, left, is pictured here shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, after a joint press conference at the Great Hall of People. Obama paid a state visit to China after attending the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting
DHARAMSHALA, November 13: As US president Barack Obama arrived in China for US China climate talks Tibetan exiles and supporters have urged him to raise the issue of Tibet with his Chinese counterpart. Obama, the first US president to publicly announce that Tibet is part of the People’s Republic of China in 2009, has reiterated the same statement, angering supporters of independence for Tibet.
"We are not in favor of independence. But we did encourage Chinese authorities to take steps to preserve the unique cultural, religious and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people," Obama said Wednesday during a joint press conference in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
"The President stressed that he encourages direct dialogue to resolve long-standing differences and that a dialogue that produces results would be positive for China and Tibetans," the White House said,
Washington based Tibetan advocacy group, the International Campaign for Tibet, has said that Obama should reflect the sentiment and voice of the US congress and the American people who overwhelmingly support the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his quest for justice for the Tibetan people.
“While meeting China’s leader Xi Jinping in Beijing President Obama should take the opportunity to raise once again the issue of Tibet," said Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, a day ahead of Obama's meeting with Xi.
"The situation continues to deteriorate in Tibet, where far too many political prisoners are unjustly detained and mistreated and where self-immolations have vividly reminded us the depth of decades of suffering and oppression. Religious freedom continues to be denied to Tibetans, while China goes on with its campaign aimed at denigrating the Dalai Lama," added Matteo.
The ICT urged Obama to ensure that "basic human values are not forgotten in the great game of politics and diplomacy."