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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Exiles say clashes in Tibet after US award to Dalai Lama

October 24, 2007

DHARAMSALA, India, 22 October (AFP) — Chinese police used force to
suppress Buddhist monks' celebrations in Tibet's capital of a hugely
controversial US award for the Dalai Lama, exile groups in India said.

They said police arrested scores of monks and Tibetan activists, over
four days in Lhasa last week, who attempted to celebrate the awarding
of the United States' highest civilian honour on the exiled spiritual
leader.

Beijing said the award by President George W. Bush had "gravely
undermined" US-China relations.

The clashes were centred at the Drepung and Nechung monasteries in
Lhasa which were sealed to keep the thousands of monks inside and away
from the public, according to sources in the Tibetan
government-in-exile who did not wish to be named.

There was no immediate word on injuries, the sources said.

China sent troops to "liberate" Tibet in 1951. The Dalai Lama later
fled to India in 1959 with his followers after a failed uprising and
established a government-in-exile in the northern hill town of
Dharamsala.

The exile sources said Internet services in Lhasa were cut on October
17, the day the award was presented and reports of the clashes
filtered out slowly.

The initial clashes began after police questioned monks who were
ceremonially whitewashing the walls of Drepung monastery on the day of
the award, the sources said.

The honour for the Dalai Lama is viewed by China as a challenge to its
strict rule over Tibet as the spiritual leader remains popular.

In recent years, he has backed off from pushing for Tibetan
independence, campaigning instead for the Himalayan region to have
"genuine autonomy."

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