US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Saturday urged the Chinese government to “exercise restraint” in responding to protests in Tibet and called for the release of detained monks.
Rice said she was “deeply saddened” that Friday’s protests “resulted in the loss of lives” and expressed concern “that the violence appears to be continuing.”
“I also am concerned by reports of a sharply increased police and military presence in and around Lhasa,” she said in a statement.
Also from AFP: China’s Tibet crackdown highlights US rights policy flaws:
China’s crackdown on Tibetan protests has dealt a major embarassment to US President George W. Bush’s administration, which removed the Asian giant from a human rights blacklist just three days before the bloody repression, experts say.
Rights groups and some lawmakers were dismayed by the State Department’s decision last Tuesday to drop China from its list of the world’s worst human rights violators despite what they called Beijing’s worsening rights record even as it prepared to host the Olympic Games in August.
Read also Call for Calm in Tibet, statement by Secretary Condoleezza Rice:
I am deeply saddened to learn that the turmoil that erupted yesterday in Lhasa following what began as peaceful protests has resulted in the loss of lives, and I am concerned that the violence appears to be continuing. I also am concerned by reports of a sharply increased police and military presence in and around Lhasa. We call on the Chinese government to exercise restraint in dealing with these protests, and we strongly urge all sides to refrain from violence.
President Bush has consistently encouraged the Chinese government to engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama directly and through his representatives so that long-standing issues with regard to Tibet may be resolved. We urge China to respect the fundamental and universally recognized right of all of its citizens to peacefully express their political and religious views, and we call on China to release monks and others who have been detained solely for the peaceful expression of their views. We also urge China to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions due to their impact on Tibetan religion, culture, and livelihoods.
This is the year of the Beijing Olympics. It represents an opportunity for China to show the world what it has accomplished in the last several decades. Those accomplishments have been extraordinary and China’s people have a right to be proud of them, but the events in Tibet these last few days unfortunately show a different face of China. Now is the time for Beijing to take steps that would change the image people have of China later this year by changing the reality of how they treat Tibet and Tibetans. Now is the time to respect the human rights and religious freedom of the people of Tibet.