The Chinese Foreign Ministry this week lashed out at U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke,accusing him of meddling in China’s domestic affairs after he questioned its policies toward Tibet, where Buddhist monks have been burning themselves to death to protest Chinese rule.
“We oppose any country or person interfering in China’s internal affairs in any form,” ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters in Beijing.
He also blamed supporters of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, for “instigating and masterminding” the gruesome demonstrations.
More than 60 monks have set themselves aflame since February 2009 in the latest wave of protests in Tibet and Sichuan province. Seven have killed themselves since Oct. 20. The United States accuses China of “severe repression” of human rights in Tibet.
Mr. Locke angered the Chinese government in remarks Monday in an online forum organized by the National Committee on U.S.-Chinese Relations.
“We implore the Chinese to really meet with the representatives of the Tibetan people to address and re-examine some of the policies that have led to some of the restrictions and the violence and the self-immolation,” he said.
“We have very serious concerns about the violence, of the self-immolation, that have occurred over the last several years.”
Mr. Locke last month quietly visited the Sichuan area of Aba, an ethnically Tibetan region that has become a flash point in the protests against Chinese rule.
A federal judge this week tossed out a case brought by a former U.S. diplomat accused of illegally accepting gifts while serving as ambassador to the Arab sultanate of Oman.
Judge John D. Bates of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia ruled that Richard L. Baltimore III failed to prove that the State Department improperly disciplined him when a review board ordered that he serve a 45-day suspension for accepting an Oriental rug and expensive membership to exclusive clubs at luxury hotels in Oman.
The Office of Inspector General also found that Mr. Baltimore allowed his wife to use a U.S. government car for personal trips.
Mr. Baltimore, a career diplomat who served as a special assistant to three secretaries of state, resigned and appealed to the federal court.
Judge Bates noted that the appeal was an odd one.
“The events at issue in this case concern a rug, a car and health club membership — hardly the usual subjects of extended federal court litigation,” he said before upholding the State Department action.