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Britain urges China restraint in Tibet


London : Britain Monday expressed “concern” at the unrest in Tibet and said it had urged the Chinese government to exercise restraint in dealing with the protests, a spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown said.

He said the government was in daily touch with the authorities in Beijing and the Chinese embassy in London, and had called for restraint.

“We are following with concern recent unrest in Tibet, as well as related incidents in India and Nepal and have called on the Chinese authorities to exercise restraint,” said the spokesman.

“We are taking this very seriously…It is difficult to establish at the moment what the full facts are,” said the spokesman.

Tibetan exiles in Britain were Monday planning a demonstration at the Chinese embassy in here as the Chinese government’s “deadline” to end protests in Tibet comes into force.

But a spokesman for the Free Tibet campaign in Britain Monday urged the British government to make “strong representations” in Beijing.

“The British government must now pull its head out of the sand. The government must make very strong representations to China,” said Matt Whitticase, spokesman for the group.

In Rome, commentators have criticized for what they say the failure of Pope Benedict XVI to express concern for the violence in Tibet.

“At (Sunday’s) Angelus, Benedict opted to speak about Iraq and remain silent on Tibet,” Turin-based daily La Stampa said Monday referring to the pontiff’s appeal for peace in Iraq during his traditional Sunday address to the faithful in St Peter’s square.

The Vatican has yet to make an official statement on the Tibet violence.

Italian news reports have quoted unidentified Holy See officials as saying that the absence of an envoy in China – the Vatican does have diplomatic ties with Beijing – and the lack of a Vatican-recognized Catholic community in that country means “no first-hand information” exists on events in Tibet.