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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Activist group says teens detained for 'Free Tibet' graffiti in China

October 10, 2007

The Associated Press
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Published in International Herald Tribune

BEIJING: Authorities in western China have detained four teenagers 
for about a month on suspicion of scribbling graffiti calling for 
Tibet's independence and the return of the Dalai Lama, a rights group 
said Wednesday.

A fifth boy was hospitalized with injuries stemming from beatings he 
suffered during detention, according to the Washington-based 
International Campaign for Tibet.

Dozens of students were initially detained in early September after 
the graffiti appeared on walls of a middle school and a police 
station in Xiahe county, a heavily Tibetan area in western China's 
Gansu province.

All but seven were released after two days, the group said in a 
statement, and two 14-year-olds were released about Sept. 24 after 
their families paid a 4,000 yuan (US$530, €375) fine and were ordered 
confined to their villages, the group said.

But four 15-year-olds remain in custody, it said.

Another 15-year-old was taken to a hospital with possible head 
injuries resulting from beatings, and it was not clear if he would be 
returned to custody after treatment, according to International 
Campaign for Tibet.

A man who answered the phone at the Xiahe county government office 
called the report "nonsense and rumor."

"No such thing happened," said the man, who refused to give his name 
but said he was a county employee.

Phones rang unanswered at the Xiahe public security bureau and 
detention center.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet's traditional Buddhist leader, fled the 
Himalayan region for India in 1959 amid a failed uprising against 
Chinese rule. He remains highly popular among Tibetans, despite 
persistent efforts to demonize him by Chinese authorities.

China claims Tibet has been its territory for centuries, but many 
Tibetans say they were effectively independent for most of that period.

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