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Australia raises concerns over Tibet freedom crackdown

Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS

Australia has expressed concerns about China's human rights abuses in Tibet.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the government had raised the issue at numerous diplomatic levels about "the erosion of rights and freedom".

Senator Wong said reports of children being separated from their families were disturbing and deeply concerning.

The minister also raised concerns about the detention of peaceful protesters and crackdown on religious freedoms.

She said Beijing's crackdown amounted to "excessive security measures".

"What we can do is to advocate and we are seeking to do that," she told parliament on Monday.

A cross-parliamentary group supporting Tibetan freedom marked Tibet Lobby Day on Monday by issuing a statement calling on the government to raise the issue with China and in multilateral forums.

The letter, co-signed by Labor MP Susan Templeman, Greens senator Janet Rice and Liberal senator Dean Smith, said human rights needed to be respected universally and Chinese officials should be held to account.

"The Chinese government is violating the human rights of Tibetan people and (Chinese Communist Party) officials need to be held to account," the statement said.

"We would like to see Australia take leadership internationally and raise this issue both publicly and privately with Chinese leadership while seeking multilateral support for the closure of these schools and the return of these children to their families."

They also called for legislation to ban goods produced from forced labour in the region.

The Australia Tibet Council welcomed the statement.

Senator Wong said the attorney-general was working through a review of anti-slavery legislation and the government would respond in turn.

"I do not think there is anyone in Australia who would advocate or believe that it is acceptable for us to profit from forced labour," she said.