U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used the occasion of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum to address the issue of self-immolations in Tibet. Speaking at the East-West Centre in Honolulu on November 10, Secretary Clinton said the United States is “alarmed by recent incidents in Tibet of young people lighting themselves on fire in desperate acts of protest… We continue to call on China to embrace a different path.”
Secretary Clinton’s public remarks, made shortly before a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, follows a strong statement at the State Department’s November 4 press briefing by Spokesperson Victoria Nuland:
“We have consistently and directly raised with the Chinese government our concerns about Tibetan self-immolations, and we have repeatedly urged the Chinese government to address its counterproductive policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions and that threaten the unique religious, cultural, linguistic identity of the Tibetan people. We’ve also repeatedly urged the Chinese government to allow access to all Tibetan areas of China for journalists, diplomats, and other observers so that we can get accurate information and so that you can get accurate information.
“And let me take this opportunity to again call on the Government of China to respect the rights of all of its citizens who peacefully express their desire for internationally recognized freedoms, and particularly the rights of Tibetans to resolve their underlying grievances with the Government of China… since this new spate of self-immolations has begun, we’ve had extensive conversations based in Beijing with our Embassy personnel. But as you know, Assistant Secretary [for East Asian and Pacific Affairs] Campbell and others have raised these issues directly and regularly, as has the Secretary, on the larger issue of the rights of Tibetan people within China.”