US urges China to exercise restrain in dealing with Tibetans

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Washington, Mar 16 : The Bush Administration has urged the Chinese Government to exercise restraint in dealing with the protests being staged by the Tibetans.

"We call on the Chinese government to exercise restraint in dealing with these protests, and we strongly urge all sides to refrain from violence," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement.

"I am deeply saddened to learn that the turmoil that erupted yesterday in Lhasa following what began as peaceful protests has resulted in the loss of lives, and I am concerned that the violence appears to be continuing," she added.

Rice also expressed concern over reports of a sharply increased police and military presence in and around Lhasa.

"President George Bush has consistently encouraged the Chinese Government to engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama directly and through his representatives so that long-standing issues with regard to Tibet may be resolved," said Rice.

She also said that the US has urged China to respect the fundamental and universally recognized right of all of its citizens "to peacefully express their political and religious views, and we call on China to release monks and others who have been detained solely for the peaceful expression of their views."

The US also urges China to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions due to their impact on Tibetan religion, culture, and livelihoods, said the US Secretary of State.

Tibetans are trying to revive their freedom movement and protest against what they see as China's illegal occupation of their homeland.

Hundreds of Tibetans refugees had set off on a march to Tibet from New Delhi on March 10 as part of global protests to mark the 49th anniversary of an uprising against Chinese rule.

Meanwhile, around 70 Tibetan monks and nuns have gone on an indefinite hunger strike here to express their solidarity and support with fellow Tibetans.

ANI

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