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Tibet-France-China-2014Dharamshala: - The global rights watchdog 'Human Rights Watch' has called on the president of France to raise the issue of deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet when he meets Chinese President Xi Jinping this week. In addition to France, Mr Xi will visit Germany, Belgium as well as the EU headquarters on his first Europe tour since becoming the president.

The letter by Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organisation that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, specifically calls on President Hollande to ask President Xi about specific cases of persecuted human rights defenders, including imprisoned 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia; Uighur economist Ilham Tohti; and lawyer Xu Zhiyong and express concern about activist Cao Shunli, who died on March 14 in a Beijing hospital following her arbitrary detention in September 2013.

"French President Francois Hollande should publicly deliver a strong message in defense of human rights to Chinese President Xi Jinping," Human Rights Watch said in a letter yesterday.

"On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationships between China and France, President Hollande should clearly set out France's expectations that China needs to respect basic human rights," said Jean Marie Fardeau, France director of Human Rights Watch. "These principles should be stated in private, but also in public."

The New York based organsation's letter also urged Mr Hollande to express concern about the deteriorating human rights situations for ethnic minorities, particularly in Tibet and Xinjiang. This letter is another chapter in Human Rights Watch's long and committed dedication to the Tibetan cause, which stretches back to it's founding in the 1970s.

As President Xi arrives in Lyon, Tuesday, March 25, dozens of Tibetans and Tibet supporters gathered at the Place Saint-Jean, Lyon, to draw attention on the situation of human rights in Tibet.

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