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US Asks China to Address Tibetan Issues


Tibetan nun Palden Chetso who died after setting herself on fire in southwestern China is seen in this undated file photo.

Tibetan nun Palden Chetso who died after setting herself on fire in southwestern China is seen in this undated file photo.

The United States has urged the Chinese government to address its "counter-productive policies" in Tibetan areas, saying it was concerned about a recent spate of self-immolations.

State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says China's policies have created tensions which threaten the unique religious, cultural, and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people.

She urged the Chinese government to allow access to all Tibetan areas for journalists, diplomats and other observers. She called on China to respect the rights of all of its citizens who peacefully express their desire for internationally recognized freedoms, particularly the rights of Tibetans to resolve their underlying grievances with the government.

At least 11 Tibetans have died after setting themselves on fire in protests for religious freedom and the return of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The latest was a 35-year-old nun, Palden Chetso, who died Thursday in southwestern Sichuan province.

Eight Buddhist monks and three nuns have self-immolated since a young protesting monk died after setting himself on fire in March at the flashpoint Kirti monastery. That death sparked months of protests by monks and nuns and triggered a major Chinese crackdown on area monasteries that included the arrests and disappearances of hundreds of monks.

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