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Stay out of Tibet issue, diplomats and experts urge
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08:26, April 24, 2008

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Diplomats and human rights experts from China and abroad on Wednesday urged foreign countries to stay out of China's Tibet issue.

The Tibet issue is China's internal affair, "so nobody should go and intervene in it," Lovelia Cabrera Laping, special assistant to the undersecretary of the Philippines Foreign Ministry, told Xinhua.

Laping was commenting on an article by U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula J. Dobriansky in the Washington Post, in which Dobriansky said the Tibet issue reflected "China's long-standing repression of religious, cultural and other freedoms."

Dobriansky also had a meeting with the Dalai Lama in Michigan on Monday despite China's strong opposition.

"My view is more open when I came here," said Laping, who was here to attend the Beijing Forum on Human Rights, which concluded here Wednesday.

She said that during the forum of the past two days, she had watched documentaries about Tibet's history and development and listened to experts' views on the Tibet issue. "You know your thinking will be different when you see the opinion of the other side," she said.

Ahmed Saadi, deputy director with the department of the multilateral affairs of the Algerian Foreign Ministry, said China's sovereignty deserved respect from other countries.

He said like China, Algeria followed the diplomatic principles of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in other nations' affairs.

If some countries tried to bluntly interfere in other countries' affairs according to their own standards, that would only lead to conflict and disruption of international relations, said Saadi, who was among the 110 representatives from 32 countries and international organizations that attended the forum.

Commenting on Dobriansky's article, Sherab Nyima, vice president of the Beijing-based Central University for Nationalities, said the slaves in old Tibet, who accounted for 95 percent of the region's population before the peaceful liberation in 1951, never had human rights.

"For a long time, 'human rights' has been just a tool exploited by some Westerners to attack China," he said.

Luo Yanhua, professor of international studies at Peking University, considered Dobriansky's words "biased and fact-distorting."

"They were only trying to pressure China with the issue so as to force the Chinese government into their arrangements," she said.

Chang Jian, a human rights scholar with Nankai University, said the Western attitude on the Tibet issue reflected their unwillingness to see China's growth, and also the double standards they applied on the human rights issue.

However, he said, these attitudes represented just those of some political forces, not all the people of the countries.

"China is developing fast and is capable of solving its own problems," said Saadi of Algeria.

Source: Xinhua

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