News / Asia

US Ambassador Comments on China’s Tibetan Policies

U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012.U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012.
U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012.
U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012.
Shannon Sant
Following a series of self-immolation protests, the U.S. Ambassador to China is speaking out on Beijing's policies toward Tibetans.  In an online Town Hall Meeting with citizens in cities across the United States, Gary Locke also spoke about his trip last month to Tibetan monasteries.
“We implore the Chinese to really meet with the representatives of the Tibetan people to address and re-examine some of the policies that have led to some of the restrictions and the violence and the self-immolations, and we are very concerned with the human rights condition here in China,” said Ambassador Locke.

Senior Chinese officials have rejected calls to meet with the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama or with authorities from the Tibetan exile government based in northern India.  

During the online discussion, Locke also acknowledged his recent visit to Aba prefecture of China’s Sichuan Province, where nearly two-thirds of the Tibetans who have set themselves on fire lived.

Seven Tibetans reportedly self-immolated last week, bringing the total number to nearly 60 since 2009.  While U.S. representatives have raised the Tibetan issue with China’s government, it is rare for a U.S. ambassador to visit Tibetan areas.

Locke says he traveled to the region to get an appreciation of Tibetan culture and way of life.

“We have very serious concerns about the violence, the self immolations that have occurred over the last several years, very deplorable,” said Locke. "Nobody wants that type of action, or people having to resort to that type of action. Too many deaths, too many deaths.”

A State Department spokesperson earlier confirmed Locke’s trip to the area after a reporter for The New York Times posted a picture of Locke greeting an elderly monk.

The Times says Locke visited two monasteries in Songpan, about 160-kilometers east of the town Aba.  While Aba has frequently been closed to travelers since the protests began, Songpan has remained a popular tourist destination.

Uprisings against Chinese rule have swept the Tibetan plateau since 2008 when protests spread from Lhasa to Sichuan and Qinghai.  China has responded with a harsh crackdown and heavy security presence.

When asked about Ambassador Locke’s call to reexamine Tibetan policies Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei rejected the comments.   

He says what he called a “political scheme” should be condemned in the strongest terms.  He says Tibetan affairs are China’s internal affairs and China opposes any effort to interfere in internal affairs in any way.

Tibetans have denied the immolations are planned by an outside force and say the protests are a response to repressive policies by the Chinese government that restrict their freedom of religion and human rights.

You May Like

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: VOB from: China
October 31, 2012 8:06 AM
we don't see those monks have been restricted in terms of religious freedom. Their self-immolation is the result of brain-wash.
In Response

by: Bob William Knight
November 06, 2012 11:57 AM
vob china destroyed 6000Tibetam monasteries china killed raped and tortured 2million Tibetans you dont believe then you braonwashed

by: Adam from: China
October 31, 2012 5:32 AM
The Tibetan issues have been lingering for such a long history without solutions. The long-hauled self immolations do have heavily punched the image of the Chinese authorities,and the dim plight of the Tibetan people has to be urgently addressed because the Tibetan people are our compatriots,sisters and brothers,we're supposed to share the same prosperities and opportunities but the facts speak in the opposite way,there must be some complicated and sophisticated factors standing in the way,I pray deeply for thoese immolators.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs