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7December2012-004 Maria OteroDharamshala: In response to the increasing number of self-immolations that have occurred in and outside of Tibet, top U.S. Government officials have issued a statement calling on Chinese authorities to conduct direct, unconditional dialogue with the spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives.

This dialogue, according to U.S. officials, should concern the harsh Chinese policies in Tibet, including restricting the ability to express grievances freely, publicly, peacefully, and without fear of reprisal.

Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Maria Otero said: “The United States is deeply concerned and saddened by the continuing violence in Tibetan areas of China. Chinese authorities have responded to these tragic incidents with measures that tighten already strict controls on freedoms of religion, expression, assembly and association of Tibetans.

“The U.S. Government has consistently urged the Chinese government to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions. These policies include increasingly severe government controls on Tibetan Buddhist religious practices and monastic institutions; intensive surveillance, arbitrary detentions, escalating restrictions on media, and the use of force against Tibetans seeking peacefully to exercise their universal human rights.

“We call on China’s leaders to allow journalists, diplomats and other observers unrestricted access to China’s Tibetan areas. We call on the Chinese Government to address the policies in Tibetan areas that have created these tensions,” Ms. Otero said.

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