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UN Secretary-General Urges China to Show Restraint in Tibet


The United Nations secretary-general says he has met with China's ambassador to express concern over the situation in Tibet.

Ban Ki-moon told reporters Monday that he has been closely following developments in the region and urged authorities to show restraint.

India and several European countries have issued similar statements and some have summoned China's ambassadors to discuss the issue.

The U.S. State Department said U.S. diplomats have also discussed the issue with Chinese officials, but a State Department spokesman said Monday that President Bush still plans to attend the Beijing Games in August.

The United States also announced that it will increase government-sponsored, Voice of America and Radio Free Asia radio broadcasts to Tibet.

Indian opposition lawmakers walked out of a Monday session of the lower house of parliament after they failed to convince their colleagues to back a stronger statement about China's handling of the Tibetan protests.

The Indian-based Tibetan exile government Monday expressed concern over a possible escalation of violence in Tibet as a deadline for protesters to turn themselves in to authorities passes.

Tibetan exiles protesting in India voiced growing dissatisfaction with the Dalai Lama's approach to China, after the spiritual leader said Sunday that he does not support a boycott of the Beijing Olympics.

Pro-Tibet protests also were held for another day in European countries and Nepal, where police arrested at least 44 Tibetan protesters.

China's Foreign Ministry Monday called on foreign governments to protect its diplomatic offices as protests at its embassies and consulates intensify.

In recent days, pro-Tibet demonstrators caused minor damage to China's diplomatic buildings in North America and Europe, where protesters in the Hague and Paris replaced China's flag with that of Tibet.

Earlier Monday, Russia and European Union sports officials said they opposed any boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games despite the situation in Tibet.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says several top athletes are considering boycotting this year's Beijing Olympics. On Sunday, IOC President Jacques Rogge said a boycott would only penalize athletes. He did not say whether the IOC would change its position if the crackdown continues.

Chinese Olympic Committee officials have said the unrest in Tibet will not affect their plans to bring the Olympic torch through Tibet and up to the summit of Mount Everest in May.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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