The State Department also urged China to allow both journalists and diplomats to observe the situation in Ngaba county, eastern Tibet (Ch: Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province) , which has seen a string of protests and self-immolations by monks.
The State Department said in a statement it was 'seriously concerned' by the self-immolations on Monday of two monks at the Kirti monastery of Ngaba county eastern Tibet, who media reports said cried 'Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama' as they attempted suicide.
"In light of the continuing underlying grievances of China's Tibetan population, we again urge Chinese leaders to respect the rights of Tibetans, to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tension, and to protect Tibetans' unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity," it said.
The two young monks reportedly cried out "return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet" "free Tibet" "religious freedom in Tibet" "human RIghts in Tibet" and "long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama" as they set themselves on fire, protesting to China's rule and its harsh policy in Tibet.
Over the past two months, the Chinese court in Ngaba county has sentenced several monks from Kirti Monastery to lengthy prison terms after the authorities accused them of involvement in late Phuntsok's death.
According to a Tibet source, "both of the monks joined Kirti Monastery at an early age. The situation in Ngaba county is still highly tense. A large number of armed military personnel and police have been deployed in Ngaba town and the area surrounding the Kirti monastery. Authorities have also cut off internet access, mobile and public telephone lines."
Several other Tibetans in Ngaba county, including many monks, have been detained by the Chinese authorities in recent months, many expelled from the monastery and are said to be being brutally tortured despite being held without charge.
The latest protest followed the death of 29-year-old Tsewang Norbu, who set fire to himself and shouted for freedom and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet at another eastern Tibet protest against Chinese rule.