Senator Barack Obama has condemned the use of violence by China to put down peaceful protests in Tibet and called on the Chinese Government to respect the human rights of the Tibetans and to account for the detained demonstrators.
In a statement on March 14, 2008, Obama said these protests “demonstrate the continuing frustration of the Tibetan people at the way in which Beijing has ruled Tibet. There has been an informal dialogue between Chinese leaders and the Dalai Lama’s representatives over the past six years. It is good that they have been talking, but China has thus far shown no flexibility on the substance of those discussions. Indeed, it has delayed in scheduling the latest round, despite the willingness of the Tibetans to continue dialogue.
Following is the full text of Obama’s Statement.
Statement of Senator Barack Obama on the situation in Tibet
March 14, 2008
“I am deeply disturbed by reports of a crackdown and arrests ordered byChinese authorities in the wake of peaceful protests by Tibetan Buddhist monks. I condemnthe use of violence to put down peaceful protests, and call on the Chinese government torespect the basic human rights of the people of Tibet, and to account for the whereaboutsof detained Buddhist monks.
These events come on the 49th anniversary of the exile of the spiritual leader of TibetanBuddhists, the Dalai Lama. They demonstrate the continuing frustration of the Tibetanpeople at the way in which Beijing has ruled Tibet. There has been an informal dialoguebetween Chinese leaders and the Dalai Lama’s representatives over the past six years. Itis good that they have been talking, but China has thus far shown no flexibility on thesubstance of those discussions. Indeed, it has delayed in scheduling the latest round,despite the willingness of the Tibetans to continue dialogue.
If Tibetans are to live in harmony with the rest of China’s people, their religion andculture must be respected and protected. Tibet should enjoy genuine and meaningfulautonomy. The Dalai Lama should be invited to visit China, as part of a process leadingto his return.
This is the year of the Beijing Olympics. It represents an opportunity for China to showthe world what it has accomplished in the last several decades. Those accomplishmentshave been extraordinary and China’s people have a right to be proud of them, but theevents in Tibet these last few days unfortunately show a different face of China. Now isthe time for Beijing to take steps that would change the image people have of China laterthis year by changing the reality of how they treat Tibet and Tibetans. Now is the timeto respect the human rights and religious freedom of the people of Tibet.”