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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?"

China admits sending in troops to quell Tibetan monk demos

March 14, 2008

The Independent, UK
14 March 2008

Chinese troops and police have been deployed at important monasteries
in Tibet to quell the biggest protests by Tibetan Buddhist monks in
the Himalayan region for nearly 20 years.

Witnesses have reported trucks full of troops surrounding Drepung
monastery in Lhasa, while Sera monastery was ringed by hundreds of
police.

These two sites have strong symbolic significance, as they were the
training grounds for the monks who led Tibet before the People's
Liberation Army came in 1950 and ousted the Dalai Lama.

Protests began on Monday as monks marked the 49th anniversary of the
failed uprising against Chinese rule that culminated in the Dalai
Lama's exile. The protests are the biggest since the late 1980s, when
riots led to martial law. Back then, China's current President, Hu
Jintao, was the Communist Party chief in Tibet.

Signs of defiance in Tibet come just five months before the Olympic
Games in Beijing, when the eyes of the world will be on China. Tibetan
activists are expected to use the extra attention to highlight their
cause.

Chinese officials in Beijing confirmed protests had taken place, but
said the situation had stabilised. They accused the Dalai Lama of
provoking separatist activities.

"In recent days, a few monks in Lhasa city have made some
disturbances. This is a political scheme by the Dalai group,
attempting to separate China and try to make some unrest in the normal
harmonious,

peaceful life of Tibetan people," a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin
Gang, told a briefing, adding that further protests would "not take
place" because of China's determination to safeguard its national
interest.

So far as Beijing is concerned, Tibet is part of its inviolable
territory and always has been. Beijing stresses the role it has played
in bringing economic well-being.

This week, protests have rippled across the mountainous enclave. More
than 300 monks from Drepung marched on Monday, while a smaller group
from Sera also protested. A number of arrests were made.

Radio Free Asia reported that police used tear gas to disperse 500 to
600 monks from Sera monastery who were marching to demand the release
of imprisoned fellow monks.

The Free Tibet Campaign also said its contacts had spoken to Tibetans
who reported demonstrations by 400 monks in Lutsang monastery in
Qinghai province, an area Tibetans call Amdo, as well as at the

Myera monastery in Gansu.

"The reports of protests outside Lhasa show Tibetans know the eyes of
the world are upon them and are determined not to let the momentum
drop. Tibetans inside Tibet are aware that Tibetans in India are
marching towards the Tibet border and have been emboldened by the
support they are receiving from across the world," said Matt
Whitticase of the Free Tibet Campaign.

More than 100 Tibetan exiles were dragged away by police in northern
India yesterday, and promptly began a hunger strike after being
charged with threatening the "peace and tranquillity" of the region.

Clutching Tibetan flags and pictures of Gandhi and the Dalai Lama,
they had planned to march from India to Tibet to coincide with the
start of the Olympics. Their first setback came at the beginning of
the week, when Indian officials barred them from leaving the outskirts
of Dharmasala, the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
Yesterday they had marched about 12 miles beyond the boundary when
Indian police stopped them in their
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