World reacts slowly on Tibet, but protests grow

HONG KONG, March 18, 2008 (AFP) – The international community has reacted cautiously to the unrest in Tibet, urging restraint from both Beijing and Tibetans, even as street protests condemning China have grown in recent days. “We have really urged the Chinese over several years to find a way to talk with the Dalai Lama, who is a figure of authority, who is not a separatist, and to find a way to engage him and bring his moral weight to a more sustainable and better solution of the Tibet issue,” Rice said. Tibet’s exiled leaders say about 100 people have been killed in a crackdown on anti-Chinese protests and have called for an international investigation. China has denied wrongdoing and blamed Tibetans for the unrest.

The United Nations has proved reluctant to get involved given China’s considerable influence at the world body.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday called on the Chinese authorities to “avoid further confrontation and violence” in his first public comments since the crackdown.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday called on Beijing to open talks with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and the European Union said it was troubled by events there. But Russia said the Tibet crisis was