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"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."

10 killed in Tibet protests, admits government

March 16, 2008

Aileen McCabe
The Vancouver Sun
Saturday, March 15, 2008

SHANGHAI -- Reports out of Lhasa say Chinese tanks were patrolling the
city Friday night to try to quell demonstrations by Buddhist monks that
have rocked the Tibetan capital for five days.

"There is smoke everywhere from burning shops and vehicles," according
to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. "Roads leading in
and out of some of the busiest streets in Lhasa have been sealed off.
Despite a huge presence of Chinese armed troops, the protesters continue
to stage demonstrations."

The India-based advocacy group said shots were fired to disperse the
protesters. The Chinese government said 10 people had been killed, and
promised to continue its crackdown, Agence France-Presse reported.

Radio Free Asia said the three largest monasteries in the capital were
surrounded by thousands of armed Chinese police and soldiers.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled leader, urged the government in Beijing
to "address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people."

Several hundred Buddhist monks calling for religious freedom launched
the biggest demonstrations in nearly 20 years against Chinese rule -- on
the 49th anniversary of China's annexation of Tibet in 1951. Their
peaceful protests were met with tear gas and arrests that appear to have
exacerbated the situation.

There are reports that some ordinary citizens joined the monks' protest
Friday and that many in the Han Chinese community -- who the government
relocated to the mountainous region after annexation -- are hiding indoors.

"Now it's very chaotic outside," an ethnic Tibetan resident told Reuters
by phone. "People have been burning cars and motorbikes and buses. There
is smoke everywhere and they have been throwing rocks and breaking
windows. We're scared."

Radio Free Asia said the three largest monasteries in the capital were
surrounded by thousands of armed Chinese police and soldiers.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled leader, urged the government in Beijing
to "address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people."

Several hundred Buddhist monks calling for religious freedom launched
the biggest demonstrations in nearly 20 years against Chinese rule -- on
the anniversary of China's annexation of Tibet in 1951. Their peaceful
protests were met with tear gas and arrests that appear to have
exacerbated the situation.

There are reports that some ordinary citizens joined the monks' protest
Friday and that many in the Han Chinese community -- whom the government
relocated to the mountainous region after annexation -- are hiding indoors.

"Now it's very chaotic outside," an ethnic Tibetan resident told Reuters
by phone. "People have been burning cars and motorbikes and buses. There
is smoke everywhere and they have been throwing rocks and breaking
windows. We're scared."

Apparently, the monks were not prepared to return to their monasteries
while some remained in jail; protests that had begun quietly turned chaotic.

After reporting the situation was under control on Thursday, China's
official Xinhua News Agency said "shops were set on fire in violence in
Lhasa on Friday afternoon. Witnesses said a number of shops were burnt
and some others nearby shut down business."

Reuters reported that Chinese authorities blamed the uprising on the
Dalai Lama.

"The government of Tibet Autonomous Region said Friday there has been
enough evidence to prove that the recent sabotage in Lhasa was
'organized, premeditated and masterminded' by the Dalai clique," Xinhua
reported, according to Reuters.

The Tibetan Centre said the protests spread beyond Lhasa when "Tibetan
monks and lay people" marched in Xiahe, in Gansu province, in sympathy
with the Lhasa monks.

Although travel restrictions have been eased in most of China in advance
of this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing, Tibet still remains out of
bounds for foreign reporters, except under tight restrictions.

On Thursday, Canadian Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier spoke of his
concern about the situation. "We have serious concerns about the human
rights situation in Tibet," he told the House of Commons.

"We have consistently urged China to respect freedom of expression,
freedom of association, freedom of religion for all Tibetans."

In a statement released Friday, the Canada Tibet Committee urged Chinese
and Canadian business leaders to publicly denounce the escalating crackdown.

"Business leaders must remember that, while they are doing business in
China, they are Canada's face and voice in that country. It is not
acceptable for them to remain silent as atrocities escalate," said CTC
executive director Dermod Travis in the statement.

On Friday, the European Union, Britain and Germany all voiced concern
over events in Tibet and urged the Chinese government to practice
"restraint."

In the run-up to the Olympics, Tibet is one of the most sensitive issues
the Chinese government faces. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Dalai Lama
has made the plight of Tibetans a popular cause worldwide and without
ever advocating independence, he has undermined China's hold on the region.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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