Mr. Locke’s three-day trip last week underscored U.S. concerns about human rights violations against Buddhists who live there and marked the first time in nearly three years that China allowed a U.S. ambassador into the region.
“In his official meetings, Ambassador Locke discussed the importance of opening up access to Tibet for diplomats, foreign journalists, and foreign tourists,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said. “He also emphasized the importance of preserving the Tibetan people’s cultural heritage, including its unique linguistic, religious and cultural traditions.”
The photographs show Mr. Locke meeting Tibetan women and Buddhist monks, and holding talks with Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party general secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
More than 100 Buddhist monks have set themselves ablaze since 2009 to protest China’s hegemony over the region.
China has occupied Tibet since 1950, when Chinese troops defeated the Tibetan army. A year later, Tibet signed a 17-point agreement with the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader, as head of an autonomous administration. However, he fled to neighboring India in 1959 and renounced the agreement.
Now even Austria is wagging a diplomatic finger at the Obama administration over the National Security Agency surveillance scandal.
Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger summoned U.S. Ambassador William C. Eacho to the Foreign Ministry this week, after reading news reports that U.S. intelligence agencies bugged the Washington offices of the European Union and electronically spied on EU offices abroad.
“We want an urgent explanation from the American side as to whether [the reports] are true and what espionage activities took place in Austria,” Mr. Spindelegger said.
Austria — with a population of 8.2 million, about the size of New York City — has joined its neighbors France and Germany in expressing outrage over the revelations from NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Over the weekend, the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported the blockbuster news of U.S. spying on its European allies.
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