China tells US to back off Tibet affair

China on Wednesday warned the United States against interfering in its domestic affairs after Washington expressed “serious concern” over a spate of self-immolations by Tibetan monks.

“The Chinese government attaches great importance to and safeguards the various basic rights of ethnic groups, including their freedom of religious belief,” foreign ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin told reporters.

“We firmly oppose making use of religious affairs to interfere in China’s domestic affairs,” he said in response to a question about Washington’s concerns.

State media reported on Monday that a Tibetan monk died after self-immolating in the north-west province of Qinghai, taking to 15 the number of people who have set themselves on fire in Tibetan areas in less than a year.

It was the first time the Tibetan-inhabited province had been hit by such a death. Most self-immolations have taken place in neighbouring Sichuan province, in what rights groups say are protests against perceived religious repression.


The incident came after two former monks in Sichuan set themselves on fire on Friday — one died and another is being treated in hospital.

“We’re seriously concerned by reports that three more Tibetans have self-immolated over the past few days,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said on Monday.

“These actions clearly represent … enormous anger, enormous frustration with regard to the severe restrictions on human rights, including religious freedom, inside China.”

‘Cultural genocide’
The exiled Dalai Lama has condemned self-immolations, which many Buddhists believe is contrary to their faith, but said recently Tibetans faced “cultural genocide” under hardline Chinese rule that he blamed for the protests.

But China says it has raised the standard of living for many Tibetans, pointing to huge ongoing investment poured into Tibetan areas.

Nuland said the US had also “urged the Chinese government… to loosen up in Tibet and allow journalists and diplomats and other observers to report accurately, and to respect the human rights of all of their citizens”.

“And we have called the Chinese government policies counterproductive,” she added.

Liu countered that China administered “religious affairs in accordance with laws so as to maintain religious order”.

“The constant occurrence of self-immolations in Tibet regions does not meet the aspirations of Tibetan people for realising a peaceful life,” he said. — AFP

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Covid-19 stems ‘white’ gold rush

The pandemic hit abalone farmers fast and hard. Prices have dropped and backers appear to be losing their appetite for investing in the delicacy

Khaya Sithole: Trump’s mantra of ‘fake news’ harmed media

Viewers and readers need to trust that news outlets are accurate, balanced, fair and impartial

China’s resource-for-infrastructure deals

Are RFIs a viable model for aiding Africa’s economic development?

Covid-19 vaccines offer hope as world leaders plan for future

Hopes over Covid-19 vaccines have given a boost to virus-weary citizens across the globe, but the disease remains rampant and world leaders are urging people to be patient

China blamed for Zambia’s debt, but the West’s banks and agencies enabled it

The narratives about the African country’s debt crisis are being used as fodder in geopolitical battles

Bye-bye, Don. But is this the end of Trumpism?

If it hadn’t been for Covid-19, Donald Trump might have won the presidential election. Almost 48% of voting Americans believe in his brand of democracy, equality and justice.
Advertising

Subscribers only

Q&A Sessions: Frank Chikane on the rainbow where colours never...

Reverend Frank Chikane has just completed six years as the chairperson of the Kagiso Trust. He speaks about corruption, his children’s views and how churches can be mobilised

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

More top stories

Hope grows on Durban beachfront

Ten homeless men who turned a vacant lot into an organic vegetable garden are now reaping the rewards of their toil

Shabnim Ismail bowls her way into the record books Down...

The night before Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) final, fiery South African fast bowler Shabnim Ismail lay awake pondering how...

Hawks make arrest in matric maths paper leak

Themba Daniel Shikwambana, who works at a printing company, was granted bail and is due to return to court in January

Andile Lungisa: Early parole for the house of truth

Disgraced Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa calls for a change of leadership in the ANC immediately after being released on parole
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…