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Situation "very tense", unrest possible in Tibet: Dalai Lama

February 12, 2009

February 11, 2009

BADEN BADEN, Germany (AFP) — The Dalai Lama warned Wednesday of a fresh
uprising in Tibet in the "very tense" run-up to the 50th anniversary of
the failed rebellion against Chinese rule that prompted his flight into
exile.

"Today there is too much anger... The situation is very tense," said the
73-year-old Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader during a visit to the
German spa town of Baden Baden.

"At any moment there can be an outburst of violence," he told a group of
journalists. "This is my worry because with more uprising, there will be
more crackdown. Things are very sad."

He added: "It is so tense that the Chinese military have their hands on
the trigger when they carry weapons... So long as there is a Chinese
military presence, there will be tension."

"Since public execution is difficult, they use torture when Tibetans are
detained, As soon as people are arrested, they use torture -- and
sometimes they kill them."

Next month marks the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising by Tibetans
against communist Chinese rule -- a violent episode that prompted the
Dalai Lama's flight into exile in India.

China regards the Dalai Lama as a separatist agitating for independence
for Tibet. It lodges strong protests whenever he meets with political
leaders overseas or is accorded an official welcome of any kind.

Now based in Dharamsala, India, the Dalai Lama denies he is seeking
independence, saying he only wants real automony for Tibet and an end to
Chinese cultural oppression.

He was in Baden Baden for a ceremony on Tuesday in which he received the
2008 German Media Prize, which is awarded every year by a panel of
German editors and journalists.

Previous recipients have included Bill Clinton, the former US president;
Nelson Mandela, the Nobel laureate and former South African president;
and Helmut Kohl, Germany's former chancellor.

Unrest most recently erupted in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on March 14
last year, and spread to Tibetan-populated regions around China.

Tibet's government-in-exile, which is led by the Dalai Lama, said more
than 200 Tibetans were killed and about 1,000 hurt in a subsequent
Chinese crackdown. The figures disputed by Beijing.

Earlier on Wednesday, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency revealed the
sentencing of 76 people in connection with the violence -- an increase
from a previously reported figure of 55.

The Dalai Lama said Wednesday his information about the situation in
Tibet came from "Tibetan groups or individuals who come to see me when
they leave Tibet".

He said he understood that, after more than a half-century under Chinese
rule, many Tibetans have "desperate opinions," but he argued that
non-violence was the only way forward.

"The Chinese systematically suppress Tibetan identity," he said. "The
Chinese are determined to crush it mercilessly."

In many places in Tibet, he said, schools have been closed, including
privately funded schools which are "more free to teach Tibetan identity".

It is essential, he said, "to create a signal (to Beijing) that the
Tibetan question won't go, unless a mutually accepted solution is found.
That is important."

"The interest for Tibetan culture and Tibetan human rights is now
worldwide."
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