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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China Arrests 21 Tibetans Seeking Dalai Lama’s Return

February 19, 2009

By James Peng

Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Chinese security forces arrested 21 Tibetans in
the southwestern province of Sichuan in the past three days for
demanding the return of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader,
a human rights group said.

Lobsang Lhundup, a Buddhist monk, was held Feb. 15 in Sichuan’s Karze
Tibet Autonomous prefecture, the India-based Tibetan Centre for Human
Rights and Democracy said on the Web site of the Tibet
government-in-exile yesterday. As many as 20 other protesters have been
arrested, the Centre said today.

A spokesman at the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing, who wouldn’t
give his name, declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News by
phone.

China’s military began a crackdown in January in the run-up to next
month’s 50th anniversary of a failed uprising against Beijing’s rule in
Tibet. The region has been tense since the biggest anti-Chinese protests
in 20 years broke out last march.

The government-in-exile, based in Dharamsala in northern India, said as
many as 209 people were killed in the unrest while China says 18
civilians and one police officer died.

Police detained 81 suspects during operation “Strike Hard” by Jan. 24,
according to Amnesty International and the government-in-exile.

Use of Force

The Tibet center condemned the use of force to restrict freedom of
expression and called on the authorities to release protesters. It said
those detained were from nomadic families, which took up residence in
Lithang County in Karze, about 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) from Beijing.

“All the Tibetan protesters were brutally beaten, manhandled and
forcibly loaded into military trucks,” the center said in its statement
yesterday, citing unidentified witnesses.

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India after the uprising in March 1959, has
campaigned for “genuine autonomy” for Tibet within the framework of the
People’s Republic of China. China says it peacefully liberated Tibet and
saved its people from feudal serfdom.

China last week presented a report on human rights to the United Nations
Human Rights Council. The report doesn’t mention abuses that are
occurring across China, Amnesty said on Feb. 5.

It failed to mention the unrest in Tibet last year, the crackdown on
Uighurs in the western Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and the
persecution of religious believers, including members of the Falun Gong
sect, London-based Amnesty said.

Wang Chen, the minister in charge of the State Council Information
Office, acknowledged in December that progress on human rights in the
nation was “less than satisfactory,” the official Xinhua News Agency
reported at the time.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Peng in Hong Kong at
jpeng7@bloomberg.net.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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