China slams EU's "interference" on Tibet

(dpa) - The Chinese foreign ministry on Monday accused the European Union of "interference" in its internal affairs by issuing a statement on the recent unrest China's Tibetan areas.

"The Tibet issue is completely China's internal affair," ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement posted on the ministry's website.

"No foreign countries or international organizations have the right to interfere in it," Jiang said.

EU foreign ministers issued a statement on Saturday after their meeting in Brdo, Slovenia, saying the body "calls for an end to violence and asks that arrested persons be treated in conformity with international standards."

The European Union also "wishes to uphold transparency of information and hence free access by the press to Tibet," the statement said.

It called for "substantive and constructive dialogue which addresses core issues like the preservation of the Tibetan language, culture, religion and traditions."

Jiang said the EU statement could send a "wrong signal" to the international community and "encourage Tibetan separatists in their violent crimes."

"We strongly hope the EU and its member states to make a clear distinction between right and wrong, explicitly condemn the violent crimes of beating, smashing, looting and burning and all those offenders, and avoiding taking double standards," she said.

Pro-independence demonstrations and unrest erupted in Tibet on March 10, the 49th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.

The protests escalated into rioting in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, on March 14.

The Chinese government has said 19 people were killed in the violence in Lhasa but the Tibetan government-in-exile said about 140 people were killed, most of them Tibetans shot by Chinese police.

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