by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) March 19, 2012
Australia's ambassador in Beijing will ask authorities to allow her to travel to Tibet to observe the situation following a spate of self-immolations, Foreign Minister Bob Carr said Monday.
Ambassador Frances Adamson will also request that an Australian parliamentary delegation travel to the China-controlled territory, Carr said.
Over the past year, more than 20 Tibetans, most of them monks, have set themselves ablaze to protest Beijing's rule.
"Our ambassador will be seeking today to travel to Tibet to see for herself the grievances that have given rise to the self-immolations," Carr told the Senate.
China's Tibetan areas have been hit by numerous bouts of unrest since the beginning of the year, as tensions over perceived repression boil over.
Last week western China was hit by protests by ethnic Tibetans as a monk set himself on fire and students took to the streets, rights groups said.
The incidents came four years after deadly unrest shook China's Tibetan areas, beginning in the Tibetan capital Lhasa before spreading to other areas.
Carr said the ambassador's request was an attempt to determine what was happening in Tibet.
"Any suggestion, however, of independence for Tibet conflicts with the position taken by every Australian government since December 1972 when Australia recognised China's sovereignty over Tibet with the establishment of diplomatic relations," Carr said.
Many Tibetans in China complain of religious repression, as well as a gradual erosion of their culture, which they blame on a growing influx of majority Han Chinese in areas where they live.
China, however, denies this and says Tibetans are leading better lives than ever before thanks to huge investment in infrastructure, schools and housing.
China is a key trade partner for Australia, with two-way trade with the Asian country topping Aus$100 billion ($US106 billion) for the first time in late 2010 thanks to surging coal and iron ore exports.
China News from SinoDaily.com
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Tibetan immolation prompts big gathering: groups
Beijing (AFP) March 18, 2012
A Tibetan father-of-three set himself on fire in China, prompting a large gathering of monks and lay people, rights groups said, as tensions in Tibetan-inhabited areas show no signs of abating. Sonam Dargye, 43, died after setting himself on fire Saturday in Tongren in the northwestern province of Qinghai - the third Tibetan to self-immolate in protest against Chinese rule in four days - p ... read more
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