Top US leader raises Tibet issue with Xi Jinping

DHARAAMSHALA: A day after one more Tibetan set self on fire to protest against China’s repressive policies, US Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed his concerns over the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet during his talks with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday.

“I emphasized that respect for human rights and the exchange of information in a free manner contributes to the strength of a society in a country. Recent arrests of peaceful advocates for reform run counter, in our judgment, to all of our best interests and the ability to make long term progress. I emphasized that the United States remains concerned about these situations here in China, human rights situations – especially with respect to the Tibetan and Uighur areas,” Secretary Kerry was quoted as saying by Lawyer Herald.com.

Secretary Kerry underscored that “human rights and the free flow of information are paramount for an open society.”

“We had a frank discussion about some human rights challenges and the role of rule of law and the free flow of information in a robust, civil society; the challenges of the cyber-world that we live in today,” he added.

The US government has consistently urged China to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions and threaten the distinct religious, cultural, and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people. It has encouraged the Chinese leadership to engage in unconditional dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives to resolve the issue of Tibet.

Secretary Kerry also met Foreign Minister Wang Yi and State Councilor Yang Jiechi. US officials said Secretary Kerry held constructive talks with the Chinese leadership on a host of issues, including the importance of nudging North Korea to end its nuclear weapons pursuit, emphasis on climate change and political solutions to the civil war in Syria.

This is Kerry’s fifth visit to Asia and second to China since becoming the US Secretary of State.