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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."

China tightens Tibet security ahead of Beijing Olympics

July 31, 2008

Jane Macartney in Beijing
The Times (UK)
July 30, 2008

China has announced a sweeping security operation in Lhasa to ensure
no anti-Chinese unrest rocks the Tibetan capital during the Beijing
Olympic Games in just 10 days.

After an emergency meeting at the weekend, the Tibet authorities on
Wednesday ordered the cancellation of all holidays for police and all
other security personnel until after the August 8-24 Games.

Security in Lhasa has been tight, with paramilitary People's Armed
Police patrolling the streets, since a deadly riot on March 14 when
angry Tibetans rampaged through the town setting fire to shops and
attacking ethnic Han Chinese. A total of 22 people were killed,
mostly Han residents who appeared to have been targeted in a rare
outburst of ethnic violence.

China says followers of the Dalai Lama, the region's exiled Buddhist
leader, fomented the riot and subsequent protests that swept the
region in the ensuing weeks, forcing the deployment of troops in many
Tibetan-populated areas to maintain order.

The official Tibet Daily announced an even tougher policing policy
for Lhasa for the period of the Olympics when any shows of defiance
by anyone favouring Tibetan independence would embarrass the ruling
Communist Party before a worldwide audience.

To ensure "absolute security without a single lapse", police will
redouble guards at major buildings such as airports and railway
stations, strengthen border controls and seek to expand international
efforts to stifle anti-China activists.

The report, citing a meeting of the Tibet public security office,
said: "We must further improve anti-terror plans, and take swift
measures against all forms of violence and terrorist activities."

The six-point order called for closer work with international
security organisations to police the border. China has pressed India
and Nepal, where many thousands of exiled Tibetans have made their
homes, to do more to control pro-Tibet independence groups in their countries.

The security forces must "resolutely smash the separatist activities
of the Dalai clique," the report said. "Civilian police will cancel
all two-day weekend vacations. All police will be mobilised. All
police will be in action. The police will be fully devoted to Olympic
security work with a high sense of political responsibility."

The security operation extends to the neighbouring far western Muslim
region of Xinjiang. The 4,299 public buses in the regional capital,
Urumqi, will carry security inspectors up to and during the Games,
the Legal Daily reported.

In recent weeks, the authorities have given additional publicity to
their concerns about a threat to the games posed by separatist
militants in Xinjiang, saying members of the Uighur minority are bent
on disrupting the Olympics and even had plans to kidnap athletes and
journalists.

At the weekend, a video emerged from a previously unknown group
calling itself the Turkistan Islamic Party and claiming
responsibility for bus bombings in Shanghai and in southern Yunnan
province in the last few weeks. However, China was swift to dismiss the claims.

That has thrown a spotlight on the issue of China's credibility
regarding its statements on the domestic terror threat, raising
doubts as to whether Beijing may have been exaggerating the risks to
justify its sweeping security crackdown around the Olympics.
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