US lawmakers criticize Tibet crackdown, urge negotiations with Dalai Lama

US lawmakers passed a resolution Wednesday criticizing China for its crackdown on protesters in Tibet and urging Beijing to hold direct talks with the Tibetan religious leader Dalai Lama on the future of the region. Meanwhile, the White House left open the possibility that President George W. Bush might skip the opening ceremonies of the summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Some world leaders have suggested that such a move would serve as a powerful signal of displeasure over China's crackdown in Tibet; the British Broadcasting Corp. reported Wednesday that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will not attend the opening ceremony. Bush said Wednesday that "it would stand the Chinese government in good stead if they would begin a dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama," Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader. The House of Representatives resolution also called demanded that China release Tibetans imprisoned for participating in peaceful demonstrations and allow international monitors and journalists unfettered access to the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas of China. It passed 413 to 1. A similar resolution has been introduced in the Senate. Both say the opening of further Chinese diplomatic missions in the United States should be contingent on Beijing allowing the United States to establish an office in Lhasa, Tibet's capital.