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Exiled Tibetan premier to make first European tour
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Nov 16, 2011

Tibet's prime minister-in-exile, Lobsang Sangay, is to embark next week on his first European tour since he was elected in April, amid increasing alarm over a wave of nun and monk immolations.

Sangay, who was elected to the government-in-exile's new post as the Dalai Lama tries to ease out of his political role, is to visit seven European nations, Paris-based Tibet office spokesman Tsering Dhondup told AFP.

He is to meet lawmakers and senators, members of the Tibetan community living abroad and Tibet support groups during the tour that begins in Switzerland on November 21 and ends in Britain on December 2, Dhondup said.

The tour also takes in France, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Belgium.

Sangay, a 43-year-old Harvard scholar, took office in August, assuming the political leadership role relinquished by the 76-year-old Dalai Lama in May.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week voiced alarm over Beijing's treatment of Tibetans amid a wave of self-immolations by nuns and monks in ethnic Tibetan areas of China over what they see as Beijing's stifling rule.

During a US visit earlier this month, Sangay appealed for Washington "to prevail on the Chinese government to make them realise the tragedy unfolding in Tibet, that this kind of a hardline policy of the Chinese government is not working."

Activists say that at least five monks and two nuns have died and that Chinese police have at times responded by beating the alight protesters and their colleagues rather than providing assistance.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet following a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. He later founded the government in exile in Dharamshala after being offered refuge by India.

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Chinese Premier Wen to visit Nepal
Kathmandu (AFP) Nov 16, 2011 - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is to visit Nepal in December, the government in Kathmandu said Wednesday, marking the first visit by a leader of the world's number two economy for a decade.

"Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai disclosed yesterday that Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao is visiting Nepal from December 20 to 22. Bhattarai will reciprocate by visiting China after that," Ram Rijan Yadav, press adviser to the Nepalese leader, told AFP.

"The ministry of foreign affairs is working on preparations for the visit," he said, without elaborating on Wen's schedule of engagements in Nepal.

Premier Zhu Rongji was the last Chinese leader to visit neighbouring Nepal, in 2001, although recent years have seen a flurry of visits by Chinese delegations.

Nepal is home to 20,000 exiles from Tibet and Beijing's dealings in Kathmandu were once limited to demanding support for its policies in the restive Chinese region.

But China's burgeoning commercial interests in hydro-electricity, construction and telecoms are now worth millions of dollars to the impoverished Himalayan nation.

In August, China's top communist party officials, accompanied by a 50-member delegation, visited Nepal.

In March, Chinese army chief General Chen Bingde visited Nepal and announced 1.4 billion rupees ($19 million) worth of aid to the Nepalese army for infrastructure development.


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Ai Weiwei vows to expose China
Beijing (AFP) Nov 16, 2011
Artist and dissident Ai Weiwei said Wednesday he would use his battle with China's tax authorities to expose the regime that detained him, as he prepared to challenge charges of massive tax evasion. Ai, who was held in a secret location for 81 days as part of a widespread crackdown on rights activism in China earlier this year, says the charge is politically motivated and has vowed to challe ... read more

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