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Riots kill 10 in Tibetan capital: China

March 16, 2008

ABC/AFP
March 15

Western governments have called for restraint, with Chinese tanks
patrolling the streets of the Tibetan capital.

Western governments have called for restraint, with Chinese tanks
patrolling the streets of the Tibetan capital. (AFP)

The Chinese media is reporting that at least 10 people were burnt to
death following riots in the Tibetan capital Lhasa.

According to Xinhua news agency more than 160 fires, including 40
major blazes, took hold of Lhasa last night.

There are also reports that a Chinese policeman was killed.

Last week, monks protested in Tibet to mark the 49th anniversary of a
failed uprising against Chinese rule.

Tensions between protesters and police had been escalating, and last
night's demonstration turned into a riot with police cars set alight
and Chinese shops attacked.

China's top official in Tibet, a vast region formally annexed by the
country in 1951, said the protests were part of a "separatist"
movement that authorities would not allow to succeed.

"The plot of the separatists will fail. We will challenge them firmly,
according to law," the chairman of the Tibet Government, Qiangba
Puncog, told reporters in Beijing on the sidelines of China's annual
parliamentary session.

"This is very clear: This is a separatist Dalai Lama clique, inside
and outside the country."

The Chinese Government has accused the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual
leader, of masterminding the riots and Western governments have called
for restraint, with Chinese tanks patrolling the streets of the
Tibetan capital.

The Dalai Lama called on China to "stop using force" and rejected
allegations that he and his government-in-exile in neighbouring India
were behind the uprising.

"These protests are a manifestation of the deep-rooted resentment of
the Tibetan people," he said.

"Unity and stability under brute force is at best a temporary solution."a
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