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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."

FACTBOX - Q and A on the Olympic torch's sensitive trip to Tibet

June 23, 2008

REUTERS
June 21, 2008

The Olympic torch passed through Tibet's capital Lhasa on Saturday
for a one-day stop China hopes will showcase a calm city firmly back
in the national fold three months after anti-Chinese protests in the
remote region.

Here is a Q and A on the political background.

WHY IS THE TIBET TRIP SO SENSITIVE?

* Tibetan activists have opposed the torch's visit since the route
was announced in April 2007, saying it legitimises and symbolises
Chinese rule over the Himalayan region.

* Tensions rose after several days of protests in Lhasa turned
violent from March 14, with shops torched and cars overturned. The
unrest spilled over into neighbouring provinces with Tibetan
populations, and thousands of Chinese troops poured in.

* Chinese authorities say 19 people died in the March 14-15 Lhasa
rioting, though exiles put the number much higher.

WHAT WAS THE FALL-OUT?

* China blamed exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama for
masterminding the unrest. He denied the accusations and said he would
resign if the violence spread.

* International leaders called for the Dalai Lama's envoys and
Chinese officials to resume dialogue. In early May, China surprised
observers by holding talks, the seventh such gathering since 2002,
but no consensus was either expected or arrived at.

WHAT'S THE LINK TO THE TORCH?

* The crackdown on Tibetan protesters came just before the Olympic
flame started its month-long international journey on March 24,
sparking global anti-China demonstrations.

* The relay descended into chaos in cities such as London and Paris
as protesters opposing China's policy in Tibet tried to grab the
torch and snuff out the flame.

WAS THE TIBET TORCH ROUTE CHANGED?

* The initial three-day, June 19-21, Tibet leg was reduced to one day
as part of a larger reshuffle following neighbouring Sichuan's
devastating earthquake.

* On May 8, a second flame reached the summit of the world's highest
peak, Mount Everest, as scheduled, carried by climbers from the Tibet
side of the mountain that borders Nepal.

WHAT IS THE SITUATION IN TIBET NOW?

* Rights group Amnesty International said on Thursday that more than
1,000 people are still detained without charge after the Tibet riots.
China's Foreign Ministry dismissed the group and the report.

* Access for foreign media remains tightly controlled.

IS MORE TROUBLE EXPECTED?

* The prospect of activists unfurling Tibetan flags or staging other
embarrassing stunts during the Aug. 8-24 Games is one Beijing's
security apparatus aims to prevent.
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