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China denies Tibetan refugee shooting

November 2, 2007

BEIJING, 1 Nov (AFP) — China on Thursday denied that its troops opened fire on refugees trying to flee Tibet to Nepal last month, saying the reports had been

"We have been in touch with relevant authorities regarding news about Chinese police opening fire on people crossing the border. It's a piece of fabricated news,"
foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told reporters. "It's groundless."

According to the US-based International Campaign for Tibet, around 30 Tibetans, including children, were trying to cross the high altitude Nang Pa La pass
between Tibet and Nepal on October 18 when they were shot at.

The group said no Tibetans in the group were killed or wounded but several were taken into Chinese custody.

The alleged event took place just over a year after a 17-year-old Buddhist nun was shot and killed in the same area by Chinese border guards. She was one of a
group of around 70 people who were trying to flee to Nepal in September 2006 in an incident that was filmed by foreign climbers on Nepal's border with Tibet.

At the time, China said its border troops acted in self-defence.

Despite the arduous journey and risks posed by Chinese soldiers, 2,500-3,500 people continue to make the dangerous trip out of Tibet every year, according to the
US group.

Most refugees then move to Dharamsala in northern India where the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has set up a government-in-exile.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule.

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