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4 November 2012

QUESTION: Different topic? Yesterday, a Tibetan nun set herself on fire and died. This is the 11th instance of this – these people setting – self-immolations. I don’t know if all 11 have died. Do you regard the Chinese Government’s rule of Tibet as the fundamental cause for this?

MS. NULAND: Well, I can’t speak directly to the cause of this. Obviously, you’d have to speak to the community where this is happening. But obviously, we have consistently and directly raised with the Chinese Government our concerns about Tibetan self-immolations, and we have repeatedly urged the Chinese Government to address its counterproductive policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions and that threaten the unique religious, cultural, linguistic identity of the Tibetan people. We’ve also repeatedly urged the Chinese Government to allow access to all Tibetan areas of China for journalists, diplomats, and other observers so that we can get accurate information and so that you can get accurate information.

And let me take this opportunity to again call on the Government of China to respect the rights of all of its citizens who peacefully express their desire for internationally recognized freedoms, and particularly the rights of Tibetans to resolve their underlying grievances with the Government of China.

QUESTION: Can you cite the counterproductive policies that you’re referring to, or any others of them that you’re referring to?

MS. NULAND: Well, I think that some of these policies are well known – destruction of religious property, displacement of people, replacement of people in sensitive religious areas, et cetera.

QUESTION: And have you – you said that you have raised and continue to raise directly. How have you done that? Has that been through the Embassy in Beijing? Has that been here in Washington? Has there been anything particularly recent on this?

MS. NULAND: Well, my understanding is since this new spate of self-immolations has begun, we’ve had extensive conversations based in Beijing with our – from our Embassy personnel. But as you know, Assistant Secretary Campbell and others have raised these issues directly and regularly, as has the Secretary, on the larger issue of the rights of Tibetan people within China.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Can I just follow up?

MS. NULAND: Yeah. Goyal.

QUESTION: Just as far as Tibetan issue is concerned, they have been demonstrating here, also in India, and there is much concern in Dharamsala in India. What I’m asking you, Madam, is: Are you planning or Secretary any kind of special envoy through the United Nations or U.S., somebody that – for their issues and for their concern with the Chinese?

MS. NULAND: Well, we do have a special envoy for religious freedom who addresses this issue. We have our assistant secretary for human rights who addresses these freedom – these issues. We have Maria Otero, our Under Secretary for Global Affairs, who is designated also as the Secretary’s special representative on Tibetan issues. So these issues are very well represented in this building.

QUESTION: And finally, since this is a concern to India very much next door, also tension is over Dalai Lama and over Tibet with China and India. Are you talking also something with the Indian Government or Indian officials? Or are they talking to you about this issue?

MS. NULAND: Well, we regularly talk about Tibet issues with the Government of India.