Bildt urges China to respect Tibetan rights

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt on Saturday condemned China for its crackdown on riots in Tibet, urging Chinese authorities to "fully respect Tibetan rights."

“I am convinced that there is strong support around the world, and not least in Sweden, for the preservation and respect of Tibetan culture and traditions,” Bildt wrote in his blog.

“The fact that Tibet is a part of China does not relieve Chinese authorities of their duties in this regard,” he wrote a day after at least 10 people were killed in the worst protests against China’s controversial rule in the region since 1989.

“Quite the contrary. It is their utmost responsibility to ensure that Tibetan rights are fully respected,” he said, adding that China should show “the greatest possible restraint” in dealing with the demonstrations.

Sweden’s foreign ministry on Saturday meanwhile urged citizens of the Scandinavian country who are in Tibet to “be careful and to closely follow news developments and avoid large crowds, especially demonstrations.”

According to the Swedish embassy in Beijing, no Swedes are believed to live or work in Tibet. “But there are a few Swedish backpacker tourists there,” spokesman Johan Murray told AFP.