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Dharamshala: - China says agrees with Switzerland to facilitate the visits of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and special rapporteurs, to Tibet. But it responded to the UN review of its human rights record by rejecting most of the recommendations made specifically on Tibet by other member states of the UNHRC.

"Of seven recommendations specifically mentioning Tibet, China accepted only one. China rejected five, and said it had already implemented another. China however accepted the recommendation by Switzerland to facilitate the visits of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and special rapporteurs, to Tibet.'

Kai Müller, Executive Director of International Campaign for Tibet-Germany, said: "Member states should now hold China accountable as a member of the Human Rights Council and press the leadership to ensure that the proposed visits happen. The High Commissioner must be able to engage with Tibetan and Chinese representatives of civil society in order to gain a full insight into human rights conditions in Tibet.

"While the prospect of a visit is a step in the right direction, it does not in itself constitute progress in improving human rights. A more systematic and deepening crackdown is being implemented in Tibet under the leadership of Xi Jinping. China has repeated the same denials and attempted the same obfuscation of the process as it did during its last Universal Periodic Review in Geneva in 2009," Mr Muller added.

China did not accept five other recommendations made by member states, including one by New Zealand that asked for the dialogue process between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and China to resume. Mr. Müller said: "China countered this recommendation with its usual rhetoric, insisting that the Dalai Lama is still seeking Tibetan independence, when it is consistently reiterated by the international community that he is instead calling for a genuine autonomy and that the rights of Tibetans to be protected in accordance with China's constitution and laws."

China also said that the United States' recommendation to protect the rights of ethnic minority groups, including Tibetans, Uighurs, and Mongolians, in accordance with China's Constitution and international human rights commitments, is already being implemented and was, therefore, accepted.

The UNHRC will adopt China's UPR Working Group report on 19 March. As a part of this exercise China has to inform the Council which recommendations made by member states, it will accept and which it will not accept to improve human rights in China for the next four years.

USA and the United Kingdom strongly raised their concerns about human rights situation in Tibet during the general debate at the UN Human Rights Council 25th Session on Tuesday, 18 March, 2014.

"The UK remains concerned by restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly in China, and ongoing reports of restrictions on religious, cultural and language rights, particularly in Xinjiang and Tibetan areas," said the UK delegate.

The UK delegate urged the Chinese Government to engage in meaningful dialogue with ethnic minority communities to resolve grievances and to immediately release all those who peacefully advocate for ethnic minority rights.

Mr. Peter Mulrean, Chargé d'Affaires of US Mission said, "The (Chinese) government increased Internet controls, media censorship, and continued to limit religious freedom, particularly in Tibetan and Uighur areas."

"China has increased arrests, forced disappearances, and extralegal detentions of those who peacefully challenge official policies and actions," he said.

German, Canada and Czech Republic expressed their concerns about the rights of minorities in China.

On Wednesday, 19 March, there will be a one-hour segment at the Council to adopt the Working Group Report on China's UPR. Both governments and non-governmental organizations can speak at this segment. Each UN member state undergoes the UPR process every four years.

During this process, states' human rights records are reviewed while other member states give recommendations on how the state under review can improve its human rights environment. The reviewed state can accept or reject these recommendations. This is China's second UPR. China's next UPR will be in 2018.

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