UK and EU call on China to “show restraint” over self-immolations

Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Military forces in Lhasa

Europeans join North American governments in "expressing concern" over China's response

In the UK's most direct acknowledgment yet of the Chinese government’s responsibilities regarding self-immolations, the Foreign Office minister responsible for China has issued a statement expressing “serious concerns” over the human rights situation in Tibet and urging China to “exercise restraint”.

The last few days have seen a number of governments and international institutions speaking up about the situation in Tibet.

The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security – the EU’s top diplomat – issued a statement on 14 December calling on China to “act with restraint” and to

“address the deep-rooted causes of the frustration of the Tibetan people and ensure that their civil, political, economic and social and cultural rights are respected."

Canadian and US comments

The Canadian Foreign Minister and the US’s Under Secretary of State for Human Rights have also expressed their concerns about the self-immolations and China’s punitive response to them, and called for renewed dialogue.

The UK’s statement, issued on 18 December, “strongly supports” the High Representative’s statement, without repeating her more explicit language. National leaders such as David Cameron and President Obama have yet to speak publicly on the crisis in Tibet.

China’s foreign ministry has reacted angrily to all the comments, and what it calls "interference" in China's internal affairs.

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