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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?"

Arrests of Tibetans continue: Lhasa prisoners disappear

February 23, 2010

AsiaNews (Italy)
February 22, 2010

Hundreds of people, including Buddhist monks and
nuns, gathered for a peaceful sit-in. The aim is
to know what happened to the more than 7 thousand
protesters arrested in March 2008. The police
charge them without giving answers. Little hope
after the meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews/RFA) -- In a rare sign of
protest, hundreds of Tibetans demonstrated
peacefully against China on the day of the Lunar
New Year. The demonstrators asked the Chinese
government to release their compatriots, who were
arrested during protests that erupted in Tibet in
March 2008. The police charged and removed the
protesters, arresting three people.

Meanwhile, after the expected meeting with U.S.
President Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama said he
was "comfortable" about the low profile reception
at the White House: "After 60 years of exile, I
am used to this. The important thing is to see
each other face to face, the rest does not matter
much".  This confirms the theory of some
analysts, according to who this American
administration, also because of the economic
crisis that ties it to Beijing, does not intend to address the issue of Tibet.

In any case, the local population does not seem
to lose hope. According to eyewitnesses, the
unexpected protest occurred in south-western
province of Sichuan. Hundreds of Buddhist monks
and nuns, from the monasteries of Gede and Se and
convent of Mani, met in the town of Ngaba, which the Chinese call Aba.

According Dekyi Dolma, a nun of Ngaba residing in
Dharamsala, "at least eight or nine" places of
worship that have joined the protest. "They came
together to stage a peaceful sit-in and to ask
the authorities for information on what happened
to the large number of Tibetans arrested in 2008.
There were also children at the event, but police
surrounded them and forced them to leave. Three
people, who have not done anything, have been arrested. "

According to official sources in Beijing, the
protests in March ended with the death of 22
people. According to the Tibetan government in
exile, however, the victims are over 220 in
addition, a further 7 thousand Tibetans were
arrested and  nothing is known of their whereabouts.

According to local sources, in these last two
weeks controls in Tibet and in provinces of China
where the ethnic Tibetans live have been
intensified. The reason is the meeting between
the Dalai Lama and Obama, which was held on 18
February. Defying the authorities, some Tibetans
gathered on the night of 17 to celebrate the
meeting, which for them means that Washington is
still interested in the situation of Tibet.

The reception of the Buddhist leader in the White
House, however, has severely dampened the
enthusiasm. Received in the map room, and not in
the Oval Office, the Nobel Peace Prize winner was
even exited from the back entrance. Obama has
expressed "support for human rights of Tibetans
living in China," but he no longer wants to comment on the meeting.
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