Paula J. Dobriansky, U.S. special coordinator for Tibetan issues and undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs, writes in the Washington Post:
Underlying these tragic events is China’s long-standing repression of religious, cultural and other freedoms for the Tibetan people, repression that has been extensively documented in State Department human rights reports and elsewhere. Since 1949, the cycle of protests followed by crackdowns has repeated itself several times, but the end result has always been the same: Control is restored but only temporarily, while the underlying causes of Tibetan grievances remain unaddressed.
The recent protests are a manifestation of lingering frustration at a lack of progress in addressing Tibetans’ concerns. These ethnic clashes have resulted in fatalities of Tibetans and Han Chinese and in widespread arrests. The best way for China’s leaders to address Tibetan concerns is to engage in dialogue with the Dalai Lama, who has advocated a “middle way” that embraces autonomy for Tibet within China and rejects seeking independence. The Dalai Lama is the only person with the influence and credibility to persuade Tibetans to eschew violence and accept a genuine autonomy within China that would also preserve Tibetan culture and identity.