US to persist on Tibet consulate
No policy change on Dalai: China Beijing (AFP): China has denied changing its stance on exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, after reports said Beijing has relaxed its policies of publicly denouncing him and banning worship of his image. "Our policy towards the Dalai Lama is clear and consistent, and has not changed," China's state bureau of religious affairs said. ing a wave of more than 110 self-immolations by Tibetans since 2009. China's top religious authority said on Saturday: "If the Dalai Lama is to improve his relations with China's government, he must drop his separatist position." Washington (PTI): The US would continue with its efforts to open its consulate in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, a State Department official has said, as the top American diplomat in Beijing concluded his rare six day trip to the Chinese region. "In terms of the potential for a consulate, that still remains our policy, that, as envisioned in the Tibet Policy Act, we'll continue to make the best efforts to establish a consulate in Lhasa," the State Department spokesperson, Patrick Ventrell, told reporters at his daily news conference on Friday. The US Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, concluded his six-day trip to Tibet on the day. "Ambassador Locke met with local officials, including the Tibet Autonomous Region Party Secretary Chen Quanguo and Lhasa Party Secretary Qizhala. He met with leading monks from a number of Lhasa monasteries that attended his meetings with Secretary Chen," Ventrell said. "He also called on TAR (Tibetan Autonomous Region) authorities to preserve Tibet's language, culture, and religion, and expressed our deep concerns over self-immolations," he said. Ventrell said the US?is deeply concerned about the ongoing reports of discrimination against and restrictions on Uighurs and Muslims in China.