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China promotes website attacking Western media

April 6, 2008

BEIJING April 5, 2008 (AFP) — More than a million people have "signed
up" to a website petition being promoted by one of China's biggest
Internet portals to criticise Western media "bias" in covering the
Tibetan unrest.

The petition on Sina.com has attracted 1.19 million signatures, most of
them from within China, according to its homepage on Saturday.

The appeal repeats Chinese government statements in referring to
"violent crimes of beating, smashing, looting and arson" in Tibet's
capital, Lhasa, last month.

"Western media organisations such as CNN and BBC have churned out untrue
and distorted reports of the event. Please sign your name here to lodge
your strong protest," it says.

The Chinese government has in recent weeks organised for the state press
to heavily criticise the Western media over its coverage of the unrest,
while denying foreign reporters access to the protest areas.

The demonstrations began in Lhasa on March 10 and escalated into the
biggest challenge to China's rule of the Himalayan region in decades.

Beijing maintains that Tibetan "rioters" have killed 18 innocent
civilians and two policemen.

It insists that Chinese security forces have killed no one, but Tibetan
exiled groups say at least 135-140 people have died in the crackdown.

China's communist rulers strictly control the nation's press, and have
ensured that the version of events given by Tibetan exiles and activists
groups are either discredited or not publicised in the Chinese media.

For instance, Sina.com does not mention the exiles' death toll, nor does
it refer to what many Tibetans say has been widespread repression they
have suffered under nearly six decades of Chinese rule.

The petition can be found at
hi.news.sina.com.cn/news/xizang08/index.php?dpc=1
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