Join our Mailing List

"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China says Buddhist monks arrested after Tibet protest

March 13, 2008

BEIJING, March 11 (AFP) — China said Tuesday it had quashed a protest
by Buddhist monks in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, amid reports that
dozens were arrested for marking the anniversary of an uprising
against Chinese rule.

"Yesterday afternoon some monks in Lhasa, abetted by a small handful
of people, did some illegal things that challenged social stability,"
foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

"As for how to deal with these detained Tibetans, they have been dealt
with according to the law."

He was responding to questions about a Radio Free Asia report that
said up to 300 monks tried to march from Drepung monastery on the
outskirts of Lhasa to the culturally symbolic Potala Palace in the
city centre on Monday.

The report by the US government-funded broadcaster said between 50 and
60 of the marchers were arrested as police and paramilitary police
blocked roads and encircled other monasteries around Lhasa to prevent
the protests from growing.

Eleven other demonstrators managed to stage a protest in central
Lhasa, but they were also arrested, according to the report, citing
sources in the city who asked to remain anonymous.

China's official Xinhua news agency quoted a senior Tibetan official
as confirming that 300 monks entered Lhasa to demonstrate, although
the report said they had all been "persuaded" to leave peacefully.

The demonstrations coincided with the 49th anniversary of the crushing
of a Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule by the People's Liberation
Army of China. Exiled Tibetans staged high-profile protests around the
world to mark the day.

Chinese troops killed tens of thousands of Tibetans as they quashed
the 1959 uprising, according to the Tibetan government-in-exile's
website.

Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled his homeland following
the uprising.

China has ruled Tibet since 1951, a year after sending troops in to
"liberate" it, and continues to denounce the Dalai Lama for what it
says are his efforts to seek independence for his homeland.

The Dalai Lama, who won the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, insists he is not
pushing for independence, rather an end to Chinese repression and a
return to cultural autonomy.

In a speech to coincide with the uprising anniversary, the Dalai Lama
on Monday attacked China's human rights record and accused Chinese
authorities of "unimaginable and gross violations" in his homeland.

"For nearly six decades Tibetans have had to live in a state of
constant fear under Chinese repression," the 72-year-old said from his
exiled base in Dharamshala, India.

Also on Monday, Indian police banned about 100 Tibetan exiles in India
from going ahead with an historic trek to their homeland as part of
pro-independence protests ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Foreign ministry spokesman Qin did not say what fate the protesting
monks from Monday's events may face, but other people voicing dissent
against Chinese rule in Tibet have previously been handed long jail
terms.

Among the high-profile cases, a number of nuns were given jail terms
of up to 15 years after they secretly recorded songs in 1993 about the
Dalai Lama on a tape that was smuggled out and reached the West.

Even carrying images of the Dalai Lama in Tibet can lead to harsh
punishments, according to rights groups.

Police and religious affairs officials in Lhasa refused to comment on
Monday's unrest when contacted by AFP.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
Developed by plank