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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Tibetan monk speaks out

March 23, 2008

By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing
March 22, 2008

Police are searching for Tibetans who took part in demonstrations in
Hezuo in China's Gansu Province, according to a monk who lives in the town.

He also told the BBC that the protests were started by school pupils
after they heard about the protests in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan
Autonomous Region.

But the monk added that he did not agree with the violence - from either
Tibetans or the Chinese government - and did not support Tibetan
independence.

Hezuo is in Gansu's Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. There has been
major unrest in the area since last Saturday.

The BBC has just left the town, which has been taken over by the Chinese
military. Soldiers armed with assault rifles stood guard on approach roads.

'Tough students'

The monk has provided rare details of what is happening in Hezuo, from
where it has been difficult to get accurate information.

Tibetan monk

"The police are all around government buildings, they are searching the
streets," he told the BBC by telephone.

He said students from two schools began the demonstrations in Hezuo
because they were "dissatisfied with the suppression in Lhasa", said the
Tibetan monk.

"We heard that those students are really tough, they smashed cars and
shops."

But he added: "All this fighting and killing and beating up Han Chinese
people is really bad. We want peace."

Han Chinese are the dominant ethnic group in China, accounting for more
than 90% of the population.

Many Tibetans complain they are losing their culture, and jobs, because
Han people are increasing moving to Tibet.

"I don't hate Han people. But the government keeps using violence to
suppress us, and that won't solve any problems between the Tibetans and
the Han," said the monk.

Midnight deadline

He added that he agreed with the Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibetans in
exile, who says he wants more autonomy for Tibet, not independence.

"It doesn't matter whether Tibet is independent or not, as long as
Tibetans live in happiness," he said.

Protesters in Gannan have been given until midnight on 25 March to hand
themselves in to the authorities, according to a notice posted in Hezuo.

Those who turn themselves in will be treated leniently, those who do not
will be dealt with harshly, the notice added.

The local government has promised protection and rewards for those who
turn in protesters, people China says are criminals.
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