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baucusDharamshala: - Max Baucus, Nominee as US Envoy to Beijing calls for a substantive dialogue between the Government of the People's Republic of China and His Holiness The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet or his representatives, without precondition.

US senator Max Baucus, nominated as Washington's next ambassador to China, said he would counsel the Chinese leadership to restart dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama without any preconditions to reduce the growing instability in Tibet.

In his testimony before the senate foreign relations committee on 28 January 2014, he said "I will call on Chinese authorities to allow an independent civil society to play a role in resolving societal challenges; take steps to reduce tensions and promote long – term stability in Tibet and Xinjiang; and restart substantive talks with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without precondition."

Mr. Baucus said he considered human rights, including the treatment of minorities, "extremely important", adding that he pressed the then Chinese president Jiang Zemin, on an earlier trip to China, to release a Tibetan activist. The Tibetan activist was freed weeks later, he said.

Mr. Baucus, 72, is a democrat from Montana and one of the longest-serving senators in the US senate. He announced last year that he would not seek re-election to the senate.

If confirmed as ambassador — a committee vote is set for next week — he will succeed Gary F. Locke, the first Chinese-American ambassador to Beijing who resigned in November last year.

Baucus was an original cosponsor of the 2006 resolution to grant the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal. In August 1993, he visited Lhasa as part of a trip to China.

"My visit to Lhasa contrasted with the other stops in almost every way. First, local authorities were plainly not eager to meet with me... Second, my hosts tried hard (and generally successfully) to control my movements and limit my freedom to speak informally with ordinary people," he said.

"Despite this, I noted many troubling signs. There is a large military presence in and around Lhasa. At least two plainly obvious video cameras are mounted on buildings in the Barkhor area. When I was taken to visit the JokhangTemple in central Lhasa, the market square in front of the temple was filled with plainclothes police," he added.

Baucus said that Tibetan Deputy Party Secretary Raidi gave him "a much more hard-line view of Tibetan policy than did President Jiang Zemin, appearing to rule out not only independence for Tibet, but any modest move toward genuine autonomy for Tibet. All in all, it was an unsettling visit."

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