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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 investigates thousands in Tibet: rights group

January 29, 2009

January 28, 2009

BEIJING (AFP) - China has launched a clampdown in Tibet's capital Lhasa,
investigating thousands of people and detaining dozens, ahead of the
anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising, a rights group said Wednesday.

The campaign took place ahead of the sensitive 50th anniversary of the
March 1959 uprising in that led to the escape of the Himalayan region's
spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, the International Campaign for Tibet said.

Security has been tight in Lhasa since riots erupted in the city on
March 14 last year against Chinese rule, and then spread to neighbouring
Tibetan-inhabited provinces.

Police investigated a total of 8,424 people during the week-long
campaign that began on January 18, and detained 81 suspects, according
to a recent report from the official China Tibet News.

Two of these were held because their mobile phones contained
"reactionary opinions" and they sang "reactionary songs," the report said.

The others were suspected of crimes including theft, prostitution,
murder and acts of violence involving firearms and explosives.

The report did not mention whether those detained during the campaign
were from the dominant Han Chinese group, were Tibetan, or from other
ethnic minorities.

But ICT said the campaign appeared to be intended to intimidate Tibetans
in the build-up to Tibetan New Year, which begins on February 25, and
the anniversary of the uprising in March.

"Authorities fear further unrest following the wave of protests that
swept across the plateau last year" during these periods, the rights
group said.

The Tibet government-in-exile has said that more than 200 Tibetans were
killed and about 1,000 hurt in China's military crackdown on the
protests in March last year.

China has reported killing one Tibetan "insurgent" and says "rioters"
were responsible for 21 deaths.

The China Tibet News said this month's campaign was launched "to create
a good social environment for the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and
the Tibetan New Year in 2009."

Police in Lhasa refused to comment on the campaign, and the city's
government was not immediately available.
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