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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Tibet a life or death struggle: China

March 21, 2008

20 Mar 2008
Saibal Dasgupta

BEIJING: China said on Wednesday it was engaged in a "life or death
struggle" over Tibet as dramatic footage emerged of Tibetan protesters
rampaging on horseback and hoisting their national flag.

Chinese authorities appeared to be battling on three fronts: getting
protesters in Lhasa to surrender, ensuring that the agitation does not
spread to the neighbouring provinces with sizeable Tibetan population
striving to do everything possible to see that the Olympic torch rally
does not meet its ambitious plans of reaching Mount Everest in May.

The government on Wednesday admitted that serious riots are spreading to
nearby Gansu province. But it also claimed that 105 rioters have
surrendered to the authorities in Lhasa by the close of deadline of
Monday midnight. The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games
said it was confident that the unrest would not affect the plans for the
Olympic torch.

The announcement came more than a day after the deadline had been
crossed, giving rise to suspicion that the local government may have
included those arrested after a long manhunt in the list of people had
voluntarily surrendered. Officials are keen to prove the success of the
surrender deadline and avoid being criticized for making repressive
arrests, sources said.

With China deploying a massive security force to quash the uprising and
sealing off the hotbed areas from foreign media, activists and a rights
group warned hundreds of Tibetans believed arrested may be at risk of

Activist groups also released photos on Tuesday of eight dead Tibetans
they said had been killed by Chinese forces at a protest in Sichuan
province, saying it was proof of the brutal methods being used to quell
the unrest.

But amid the fierce international scrutiny and its image being tarnished
ahead of the Beijing Olympics, China showed no signs of backing down in
its controversial campaign to end the uprising against its 57-year rule
of Tibet. "We are currently in an intensely bloody and fiery struggle
with the Dalai Lama clique, a life or death struggle with the enemy,"
Tibet's Communist Party leader Zhang Qingli said in an editorial in the
Tibet Daily on Wednesday.

While blanket security of the city appeared to have stymied any further
major protests there, Tibetans living in neighbouring and nearby
provinces have continued to defy authorities and protest for
independence of their homeland. China has tried to block foreign
reporters from travelling into these regions, but Canadian TV said it
was able to witness one of those protests on Tuesday in Gansu province,
and showed dramatic footage of the unrest.
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