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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Chinese crackdown sparks more Tibetan tension

March 31, 2008

The Irish Times
30/03/2008

There was a heavy police presence Zhuoni in the province of Gansu where
buildings were burned out yesterday after a protest in the Tibetan
capital of Lhasa sparked protests on the other side of the border.

Zhuoni was one of several ethnic Tibetan parts of China hit by unrest.
The area of barren hillsides and small, mud-brick houses is home to a
mix of Han Chinese, Tibetans and Hui Muslims.

Roadblocks were set up in a bid to keep foreigners away from the area
and identity cards for ethnic Tibetans were carried out. Buddhist monks,
who regard the exiled Dalai Lama as their spiritual leader, were
detained throughout the area.

China has accused the Dalai Lama of orchestrating unrest ahead of the
summer Olympics in Beijing in an effort to highlight the plight of his
native Tibet which is under Chinese control.

The Dalai Lama has denied the claim and called for an end to the weeks
of unrest. He has advocated autonomy rather independence for Tibet.

Beijing will receive the Olympic flame tomorrow but the response to the
dissent has led to international concern and damaged the level of
positive publicity China was hoping to attract.

The unrest began with days of peaceful, monk-led protests in Lhasa that
spiralled into a citywide riot on March 14th which led to the death of
at least 18 civilians though representatives of the Dalai Lama said 140
were killed.

Speaking in Laos on Sunday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao repeated the
government's assertion that the Lhasa riot was "violent and criminal".

"We hope governments everywhere and the media can approach and assess
this matter objectively and justly," he said.

There were also protest to western China. In Sichuan province's Aba
county, where police opened fire on protesters a week ago, 26 suspects
were detained for their involvement, the state Xinhua news agency reported.

Police seized guns, bullets, explosives and knives in Aba's Kirti
monastery, as well as Tibetan flags and banners advocating independence
for Tibet, the report said.

The Tibet Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, based in India said
more than 100 monks from the monastery were detained and that police
raided rooms.

In Zhuoni, a woman said a general lack of education and opportunities
for the young were to blame for the rioting in which shop windows were
smashed and cars burned out and around 600 arrested.

Further north, near the town of Hezuo, a primary school was badly
damaged by fire. One witness said that when armed police clashed with an
undermanned the army force in the area.

Today, police said they stopped 200 Tibetan exiles and monks from
storming the Chinese embassy visa office in neighbouring Nepal’s capital
Kathmandu.

At least 130 protesters were arrested and there were some injuries.
Nepal has said it will not allow protests against any "friendly nation"
including China.
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