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His Holiness the Dalai Lama Urges China to Restrain; Offers Prayer for Xinjiang Victims

July 9, 2009 - Wednesday, 08 July 2009

Dharamshala: In a statement issued Wednesday (8 July), His Holiness the
Dalai Lama said: "I am deeply saddened and concerned with the worsening
situation in East Turkestan (Xinjiang), especially with the tragic loss of

"I earnestly urge the Chinese authorities to exercise restraint in dealing
with the situation in a spirit of understanding and far-sightedness," His
Holiness said.

"I offer my prayers for those who lost their lives, their families and
others affected by this sad turn of events," His Holiness added.

At least 156 people were killed in protests that started on Sunday evening
in Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. More than
1,000 others were injured, Xinhua, China's official news agency reported.

However, Uighur groups put the death toll as high as 840. They also say that
the majority of the dead were Uighurs.

The protests started when a group of protesters demanded an investigation
into the death of two ethnic Uighurs who died during a fight with Han
Chinese workers at a toy factory in late June, according to an IANS report.

Chinese President Hu Jintao earlier cut short his visit to Italy; where he
was due to attend a G8 summit, "because of domestic affairs and the
situation in Xinjiang".
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