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China Wants Another Tibetan Group Excluded from UN

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 02/05/23; May 23, 2002.]

By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS, May 22 (Reuters) - For the third time this year, China asked the United Nations to exclude a Tibetan group from participating in a U.N. summit on development and the environment in South Africa, according to a letter circulated on Wednesday.

Beijing's first two attempts were successful in barring two U.S.-based Tibetan activist groups from the World Summit on Sustainable Development, scheduled from Aug. 26 to Sept. 4 in Johannesburg.

China's letter from its U.N. ambassador, Wang Yingfan, said the Indian-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy was a separatist organization "devoted to splitting Tibet from China" and alleging that Tibetans were a people under foreign occupation.

The group, which sought accreditation along with hundreds of other nongovernmental organizations, is from the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader. He fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese troops, who occupied Tibet in 1950.

A decision will be made by a U.N. delegates at the last preparatory meeting for the conference, which begins on Monday in the Indonesian island of Bali.

Wang said the group was "irrelevant to the cause of sustainable development" and instead wanted to "slander the Chinese Government through distortions and fabrications."

In February, China blackballed the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet and in April it succeeded in blocking the Tibet Justice Center in Berkeley, California.

But Beijing last year failed to keep Tibetan groups from participating in the World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa.

Nongovernmental groups are frequently given access to U.N. conferences where they hold their own forum and sometimes offer expertise to delegates. The vote to admit them usually splits among Western and developing nations when human rights groups are involved.

Beijing says it has raised the standard of living among 2.5 million Tibetans. But critics say it is attempting to eradicate Tibet's culture and unique form of Buddhism.

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