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China Avoids UN Censure, Prepares for Tibetan Protests

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BEIJING has skirted unprecedented United Nations censure for allegedly denying basic freedoms in Tibet and across China.

China's hard-line regime won a diplomatic victory Wednesday by prompting developing countries on the 53-member UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva to support a motion ending debate over the condemnation.

Although China has shunted it aside, the resolution illustrates how the issue of Chinese rule over Tibet is gradually edging onto the agendas of international forums.

"Beijing is seeing overseas sympathy for Tibet and admiration for the Dalai Lama turn more and more into concrete diplomatic pressure," says a Western diplomat in Hong Kong. The Dalai Lama, the highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism and leader of Tibet's government in exile, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

The resolution, proposed by several Western countries, expressed concern at "continuing reports of [human rights] violations in China."

The motion urged China "to take measures to ensure the full observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Tibetans as well as all its other citizens."

Chinese troops invaded Tibet in 1950. Beijing claims that it has held sovereign rights over the Himalayan region since the 13th century, but many Tibetans disagree and have staged sporadic protests for independence in Tibet since October 1987.

Several European countries initially proposed a resolution that focused on human rights abuses by Beijing in Tibet, a place the resolution says has a "distinct cultural, religious, and ethnic identity."

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