(AFP) – Mar 15, 2008
WASHINGTON (AFP) — US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama condemned the Chinese crackdown on protestors in Tibet and called on Beijing to account for the status of Buddhist monks detained.
"I am deeply disturbed by reports of a crackdown and arrests ordered by Chinese authorities in the wake of peaceful protests by Tibetan Buddhist monks," the Illinois senator said in a statement late Friday.
"I condemn the use of violence to put down peaceful protests, and call on the Chinese government to respect the basic human rights of the people of Tibet, and to account for the whereabouts of detained Buddhist monks."
Obama said the protests, which Tibet's government-in-exile in India said had resulted in 30 deaths, "demonstrate the continuing frustration of the Tibetan people at the way in which Beijing has ruled Tibet."
He said this year's Olympics in Beijing are an opportunity for China to demonstrate its progress.
"But the events in Tibet these last few days unfortunately show a different face of China," said Obama, who is vying for the Democratic party's presidential nomination against rival Senator Hillary Clinton.
"Now is the time for Beijing to take steps that would change the image people have of China later this year by changing the reality of how they treat Tibet and Tibetans. Now is the time to respect the human rights and religious freedom of the people of Tibet."
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