Government Supporting Chinese Efforts in Tibet

Cambodian government officials and retired King Norodom Sihanouk have expressed their support for China’s actions to temper and stabilize Tibet following recent pro-independence rallies that turned violent last week.

Protests marking the 49th anniversary of Tibet’s failed uprising against China’s communist rule turned violent in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on March 14, leading to widespread fires and a death toll numbered at more than a dozen.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said Monday by telephone that the Lhasa protests were masterminded by a small group of dissidents intending to undermine upcoming events in China.

“The protests were organized to hinder the Chinese government with the main event such as the Olympic Games” planned for Beijing this August, he said, adding that Cambodia supports the One-China policy.

“Neither Taiwan nor Tibet should be separated from China. This is Cambodia’s stance…. China has governed and treated Tibet like any other part of China,” he said.

Cheam Yeap’s comments echo those of Cambodian Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretary of State Long Visalo, who reportedly condemned the “serious riot incident” in a Mar 19 meeting with Chinese Embassy officials, according to a March 20 article by the Chinese state-run news service Xinhua.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Chin Buntheoun referred questions on Monday to Long Visalo, who did not answer repeated calls.

In a statement on retired King Norodom Sihanouk’s Web site dated March 20, the retired king reiterated his blanket support for the One-China policy.

Though he did not reference the Lhasa riots specifically, he condemned “any attempt at the division of China concerning Tibet or anything else.”

“I have always declared that Tibet was an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China,” the retired King wrote in the statement.

Qian Hai, third secretary at the Chinese embassy, thanked Cambodia on Monday for its continuing support of the One-China policy.

“For the past 50 years, the Royal family, the government officials and all the Cambodia people have always extend fully support to One China policy. I think any country or person who respects the facts and truth will share the same view,” he wrote by e-mail.

Qian Hai said the Lhasa events were a “maliciously incited” attempt by Tibetan separatists to “put pressure on the Chinese government, undermine the upcoming Beijing Olympics, destroy the stability and harmony of the social and political situation in China.”

SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann condemned China’s unnecessary use of violence on Lhasa protesters and urged China to respect Tibetan human rights.

“We are a democratic country…. We promote democracy in Tibet. China should respect the will of the Tibetan people and their desire for autonomy,” he said.

“I condemn the killing of the people. [The protesters] respect the Buddhist principle…. China cracked down with violence. This we cannot accept,” he said, adding that he didn’t think Cambodia had anything to gain by publicly supporting China at this juncture, and the Cambodian government would be better served prioritizing internal issues.

Qian Hai said that Chinese officials acted appropriately in response to an escalating situation.

“Our public security officers and armed policemen showed great restraint and performed their duty in accordance with the law and in a civilized manner,” he said.

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