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2nd-november-2011-US-DCDharamshala: - Just yesterday, (Wednesday, 2nd November) the elected political leader (Tib: Kalon Tripa) of the Tibetan Administration met with four US government senators in Washington DC in order to have a constructive discussion about the situation in Tibet.

In a 40 minute long conversation with senators McCain, Barrasso, Lieberman and Udall, Dr. Lobsang Sangay urged the US government to put pressure on China to give the Tibetan government in exile and the international media access into the volatile Sichuan province, where 10 self-immolations have taken place since March of this year.

Accused by the Chinese government for abetting the self-immolations, the Dalai Lama has deemed the acts as a desperate cry for help on the part of Tibetans, severely repressed by China's "ruthless, illogical" policy in Eastern Tibet.

The Kalon Tripa has further said the self-immolations are proof that China's "hardline policies" are not working.

The monks who self-immolated were teenagers and in their early 20s. That they needed to resolve to such an extreme measure- even despite the fact that suicide is a Buddhist taboo- is proof of the scale on which repression is taking place in Ngaba county. The Chinese government has imposed invasive security measures upon the Buddhist monasteries in the region, including the Kirti monastery, from which 6 of the 10 young monks self-immolated. Furthermore, monks have been detained on suspicion of involvement, and a number of monks have simply disappeared.

Senator McCain tweeted about the meeting, "Met today with Lobsang Sangay, Kalon Tripa of the Central Tibetan Adminsitration - an outstanding leader of a country that deserves its freedom".

Dr. Lobsang Sangay, a Harvard scholar who was elected as Prime Minister by the Tibetan exile community in April, urged the US statesmen to help him gain international delegation access in order that they investigate the causes of the self-immolations and prevent further monk suicides in the region.

"We do not encourage protest inside Tibet or for that matter self-immolation because we know the consequences," Sangay told the international media."If you protest in Tibet, more often than not you get arrested, or beaten up, sometimes tortured, sometimes you disappear, sometimes you die."

He speculated that Tibetan protestors might have gotten the idea of self-immolation from a Tunisian vendor who set himself on fire during the Arab Spring uprisings.

Darragh Paradiso, State Department spokeswoman for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, said the U.S. government repeatedly has urged access for both journalists and diplomats and has directly raised its serious concern about the self-immolations with China, reports the international media.

"We again call on the Chinese government to respect the rights of all Chinese citizens and particularly to respect the rights of Tibetans and to resolve the underlying grievances of China's Tibetan population," she said.

The political leader of Tibet also met with five commissioners of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, set up in 2000 by the US government to examine economic trends in China. This was followed by a meeting with the staff of the House of Foreign Affairs Committee. Sangay asked that the Commission consider including Tibet under their mandate, and they in turn expressed an interest in conducting a water and resource management hearing with the Central Tibetan Administration in January.

The Kalon Tripa rounded up his day in the US capital with a dinner organized by an US based Tibetan NGO where members and donors were invited to support educational and developmental projects of the Tibetan government-in-exile in India.

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