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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."

China tries to smother Tibet protests as boycott calls rise

March 28, 2008

CLIFFORD COONAN in Beijing
The Irish Times
March 28, 2008

CHINA: CHINA HAS sought to keep a lid on ongoing protests in ethnic
Tibetan regions, with violence reported in the western provinces of
Sichuan and Qinghai and more arrests in Lhasa.

Meanwhile criticism of Beijing's handling of the unrest is fuelling
calls for a boycott of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Reports of violence continue to trickle through the news blackout.
Witnesses in Luhuo county, in Sichuan's Khardze prefecture, reported a
large demonstration on Monday by 200 nuns from Ngangon nunnery in Trehor
town, which was joined by monks and nuns from nearby monasteries.

The Free Tibet Campaign reported that Chinese security forces fired live
ammunition to disperse the crowd and a 21-year-old monk named Kunga from
Jogri monastery was shot dead.

In the Tibetan capital Lhasa, 280 people have handed themselves in,
while 381 people in Sichuan have surrendered in the wake of the riots,
the Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported.

China has deployed large numbers of troops and militia to Tibet and
neighbouring areas to try and end the most serious protests by Tibetans
in 20 years.

Anti-China protests began with demonstrations by monks in Lhasa on March
10th and gradually escalated into rioting. Within days they spread to
neighbouring provinces.

So far, China says 19 people have been killed by rioters incited by
Tibetan separatists, while the Tibetan government-in-exile says 140
people have been killed in the crackdown on protesters by Chinese
security forces.

Western leaders have urged China to talk to Tibetan leaders, but China's
line remains harshly critical of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the
Dalai Lama. A group of Chinese scholars said they would press ahead with
"patriotic education" in Tibet's monasteries, accusing monks of being
duped by the Dalai Lama and his clique into supporting separatism.

There has been ongoing strong criticism in China of foreign media
reporting on the protests, prompting fears among foreign journalists of
attacks and forcing one international media organisation to move into a
secure area.

China sees itself as more sinned against than sinner in Tibet and blames
the Dalai Lama for inciting violence in the Himalayan region, which
China insists was, is and always will be, China.

A small group of international media arrived in Lhasa for the first time
since the violence began, a state of affairs that falls some way short
of meeting the promise China made during its bid for the Olympics to
allow free reporting.

The Foreign Correspondents Club called for media restrictions to be
lifted. In a strange footnote to the media freedom issue, the BBC
website in China was freed up for the first time in a decade yesterday,
and news - even news about Tibet - was freely accessible on the site,
although the Chinese-language version of the site remained blocked.
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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