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US, Germany Urge Chinese Transparency in Tibet

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier appealed Friday for greater Chinese transparency in Tibet. Both urged Beijing to deal with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his representatives. VOA's David Gollust reports from the State Department.

Rice and her German counterpart are urging China to ease international concern about recent Tibetan unrest by allowing more foreign journalists and diplomats into the troubled region and by entering into dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

At a brief press event, held between rounds of talks at the State Department, Steinmeier said there is no alternative to more transparency in Tibet and a non-violent approach by Chinese authorities in resolving the issue.

"In my eyes, China has to enter into a dialogue with the representatives of the Tibetan culture, and the Tibetan government, and that it is transparent about what it does - transparent toward Western journalists but also towards Western governments in order to make it very clear to them what the situation in Tibet is lik," he said.

Rice echoed the German Foreign Minister's call for transparency and said the Beijing government should take the opportunity to reach out to those who both reject violence and outright independence for Tibet - a category she said includes the Dalai Lama and his representatives.

"It's important that journalists be able to get in. It's important that diplomatic personnel be able to get in to Tibet, so that there can be independent reporting on what is going on there," said Rice. "But I believe that China would really do itself a great service -- not to mention the people of Tibet -- if it were willing to have a more open attitude toward responsible Tibetan cultural and religious authorities."

Rice told Senators earlier this week the United States would like to open a consulate in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, and that China has restricted access to Tibet for Beijing-based U.S. diplomats since violence began in the region nearly a month ago.

Exiled Tibetan leaders say some 140 people have been killed and hundreds arrested in a Chinese crackdown on demonstrations. China insists it has acted with restraint and killed no one - while blaming Tibetan rioters for 20 deaths.

China accuses the Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since 1959, of instigating violent protests - a charge dismissed by his spokesmen and U.S. officials.

The exiled Tibetan leader is currently on a private visit to the United States but a senior official here said he was unaware of any high-level U.S. government contacts with him.