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'If India can speak up against Pakistan, why not against China?'

April 16, 2008
T Kumar is the international human rights body Amnesty International's director, advocacy, for Asia. As one of Amnesty International's representatives in Washington, Kumar, who has been watching the Tibet unrest unfold, is trying to impress upon the Bush administration to urge China to give the United Nations and international journalists access to Tibet.

"We also want (the United States) President George W Bush to visit Tibet when he is there in Beijing to enjoy the Olympics," he says.

In a telephone interview with Krishnakumar, he speaks about what China should do to gain a good human rights image before the Olympics, India's role in the issue and the direction that the unrest may take in the future.

As someone who is observing the issue closely, can you tell us what really is happening in Tibet and about the protests around the world?

In Tibet, since independent observers and international journalists are not allowed to enter, it is very difficult to assess what the situation is. According to the information we are getting from inside Tibet and China, the situation has calmed down a little bit now. But the Chinese crackdown is still very much on.

The general situation for Tibetans and Tibet is tense and there is an intense crackdown against peaceful activities. China may be doing this to keep everything under wraps. Even on Sunday (April 13), there were reports that China had detained nine monks.

Image: Tibetan monks attend a prayer service during a sit-in protest in Mumbai. Photograph: Pal Pillai/AFP/Getty Images. Inset: T Kumar

Also see: Tibetan camp wears deserted look

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