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Dharamsala, Feb. 13: The US Wednesday expressed its concern on situation in Tibet, but did not specify if the issue would definitely be taken up by the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to China later this month, according to a media report.

“You know, the situation in Tibet is something the US government has been concerned about for some time. We’ve raised that issue with the Chinese in the past,” PTI reported the State Department spokesperson, Robert Wood, as saying.

“The Secretary (of State) will be having a wide-ranging discussion with the Chinese when she is in China. I am not going to get beyond what we have said publicly about our engagement with China,” he said.

“But human rights issues are something that will be at the top of the Secretary’s agenda, no matter where she goes,” Wood said.

Wood was reportedly responding to a question about the latest statement from the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama that the situation in Tibet is very tense and there could be a popular uprising any moment.

“The issue could very well come up. I just don’t want to get into specific subject areas at this point. But you can expect that the Secretary is going to be bringing up human rights issues throughout the trip, where she deems it necessary to do so”, he said when asked about whether the issue would come up or not.

Mrs. Clinton, only a month into the job, as announced by the State Department last week, would be travelling on her first overseas trip in this position to Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China during her week-long trip beginning February 15.

Meanwhile, seven prominent organizations, mostly based in US, Tuesday issued a joint press statement asking Mrs Clinton to put Human Rights on top of the agenda in her visit to Beijing next week.

In the statement, Amnesty International USA, Freedom House, Human Rights First, Human Rights in China, Human Rights Watch, the International Campaign for Tibet, and Reporters Without Borders urged Secretary Clinton to speak publicly about Tibet and Xinjiang, torture in police custody, domestic press censorship, extrajudicial detention, and abuses of human rights defenders.

The statement recalls the secretary’s own past comments on human rights in China, in which she stressed: “not taking citizens away from their loved ones and jailing them, mistreating them, or denying them their freedom or dignity because of the peaceful expression of their ideas and opinions.”

“If Secretary Clinton remains silent on these issues – as the US did earlier this week during China’s review at the Human Rights Council in Geneva – the Chinese government is likely to get the wrong message,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

“We ask the secretary to stress human rights, the rule of law, and protections for civil society as a centerpiece of US policy going forward,” she said.

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(Reuters) – Myanmar’s junta extended the house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday, a move likely to dismay Western nations who promised millions of dollars in aid after Cyclone Nargis.

Officials drove to the Nobel laureate’s lakeside Yangon home to read out a six-month extension order in person, said a government official, who asked not to be named.

However, a Yangon-based diplomat said it was for a year.

The 62-year-old Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy (NLD) party won a 1990 election landslide only to be denied power by the army, has now spent nearly 13 of the last 18 years under some form of arrest.

Her latest period of detention started on May 30, 2003 “for her own protection” after clashes between her supporters and pro-junta thugs in the northern town of Depayin. The last of a series of year-long extensions expired on Tuesday.

Although few expected Suu Kyi to be released, the extension is a timely reminder of the ruling military’s refusal to make any concessions on the domestic political front despite its grudging acceptance of foreign help after the May 2 cyclone.

Hours before the extension, police arrested 20 NLD members trying to march to Suu Kyi’s home.

State-controlled media on Tuesday praised the United Nations for the help it has given to the 2.4 million people left destitute in the Irrawaddy delta, suggesting a thaw in the junta’s frosty relationship with the outside world.

The English-language New Light of Myanmar, the generals’ main mouthpiece, said U.N. agencies took “prompt action” to provide relief supplies after the cyclone, which left 134,000 people dead or missing.

Activists criticized U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for not speaking out about Suu Kyi’s detention during his recent visit to Myanmar, which the U.N. chief said was purely a humanitarian mission.

“It is shameful that Ban Ki-Moon went to Burma and failed even to utter her name,” Mark Farmaner, Director of the Burma Campaign UK, said.

“He is playing into the regime’s hands. The U.N. is crawling on its knees before the regime, afraid to speak the truth in case it affects aid access deals, which the regime is already breaking in any case,” he said.

Three weeks after the cyclone’s 120 mph (190 kph) winds and sea surge devastated the delta, the U.N. says fewer than one in three of those most in need have received any aid.

Thousands of beggars line the roads, with droves of children shouting “Just throw something” at passing vehicles.

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The regime in Beijing has rebutted Amnesty International claims, accusing the humanitarian organization of “harbouring prejudice against China.”

In a very recent report, Amnesty International has once again targeted the People’s Republic for the human rights situation, especially concerning the repression underway in Tibet, and warned that the crisis is bound to grow worse as the Summer Olympic Games in August approaches: the latter will not result in an attenuation of the crackdown on dissidents, but the very opposite.

“Amnesty International has anti-Chinese prejudices,” said Jiang Yu, spokesman for the Beijing Foreign Ministry, “which is why it is easy to image how useful its report is.”

The humanitarian organization has spoken out on the increase in arbitrary arrests of its opponents, including the journalist Hu Jia, on trial for “subversion of public order,” due to a series of interviews in which he criticized his countries’ authorities, especially concerning the imminence of the Olympics.

“No one in China,” said the ministry spokesman in a press conference, “can arrogate the privilege nor the right to be above the law.”

– From AGI News Italy

You’ve seen the images on YouTube and in the news papers…

… Chinese security forces brutally attacking unarmed, non-violent protestors, including Buddhist monks, in Tibet.

But, you don’t have to sit idly by and just watch. You can take action right now to help secure the freedom of 15 Tibetan monks who were arrested on March 10 for staging a peaceful protest in Barkhor, Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

Sign the Amnesty Petition to the President of China, Hu Jintao, demanding the release of 15 Tibetan monks who were detained on March 10 for staging a peaceful demonstration in Barkhor, Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. There is no information on their current whereabouts or of any charges brought against them. They are at high risk of torture and other ill treatment.

What we do know, is that by acting together we can place enormous pressure on the Chinese Government at a moment when they are trying to put their best face forward in the run up to the 2008 Olympic Games. By acting now, we can secure the immediate release of the 15 monks and the other peaceful protestors that were detained with them.

In recent days, Amnesty International has met with Congressional leaders, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and with senior White House officials. We are placing enormous pressure on the Chinese Government to stop the violence, open up the region to foreign reporters and to free peaceful protestors.

But, we need your immediate help to keep the pressure on.

Sincerely,

Larry Cox
Executive Director
Amnesty International USA