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24 January 2012

QUESTION: Madam, according to reports, Chinese are cracking down Tibetans. Inside Tibet, a number of deaths were reported. Any comments on that?

MS. NULAND: Yeah. We are seriously concerned by reports of violence, continuing heightened tensions in the Tibetan area of China, including reports that security forces in Sichuan province have been opening fire on protestors, killing some and injuring others. As you know, we have repeatedly urged the Chinese Government to address its counterproductive policies in the Tibetan areas, which have created tensions and threatened the unique religious, cultural, and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people, and we urge the Chinese Government to engage in constructive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives as a means to address Tibetan concerns. I think you’ll see a statement later today from our high representative for Tibet, Under Secretary Maria Otero, if you haven’t already seen that, expressing our concerns here.

QUESTION: Is there any concern that the fact that these security forces are mowing down Tibetans in Sichuan is going to affect the optics of Vice President Xi’s visit? I mean, is this the right time for the vice president of China to be visiting the United States, when they’re stepping up their repression of the Tibetans?

MS. NULAND: Well, we have always been clear, at every level, our concerns about these issues, not only our concerns about human rights for Tibetans but also about human rights in general in China. We will be just as clear on this visit as we have been in other encounters at the high level with Chinese officials.