Tibetan monk urges Wash. gov to discuss human rights while in China

Oct 20, 2011
Originally published on October 19, 2011 3:57 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is currently in China talking about trade. But she should also be discussing human rights. That was the message Wednesday from a Tibetan monk who was held for more than 30 years as a political prisoner.

Palden Gyatso visited Gregoire's office in Olympia and delivered a ceremonial Tibetan scarf. He was joined the president of the Tibetan Association of Washington. Jampa Jorkhang says trade relations are important, but human rights must come first.

"Our urge to the governor is while she's there and speaking on behalf of the population of Washington state we cannot completely ignore the human rights abuse that's happening in Tibet," Jorkhang says.

In a letter to Gregoire, Jorkhang lists eight cases this year of self-immolation by mostly young monks and nuns in Tibet. Tensions between the Chinese government and Tibetans have been high since anti-government uprisings in 2008.

Gregoire hasn't said yet whether she plans to bring up the issue of human rights during her current trade mission.

On the Web:

Nun Set Herself On Fire In Protest, Group Says (NPR, 10/18/2011):

http://www.npr.org/2011/10/18/141474744/nun-set-herself-on-fire-in-protest-group-says

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