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Beijing imposes crackdown in Tibet, exiles say

February 22, 2009

Sat Feb 21, 2009
By Abhishek Madhukar

DHARAMSALA (Reuters) - Tibet's government-in-exile appealed to Beijing
on Saturday to end what it said was a Chinese crackdown on fresh
protests in the troubled region.

A statement by Tibet's exiled cabinet, the Kashag, said:

"The Kashag strongly deplore the recent arbitrary arrest, detention and
torture (that has) taken place ... for the slightest peaceful expression
of their (Tibetans) aspirations or resentments."

A rights group in Dharamsala, the seat of Tibet's exiled government in
northern India, said this week 21 Tibetans have been detained since a
Feb 15 protest began in the Lithang region.

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said hundreds of
paramilitaries had arrived in Lithang after fresh protests and placed
severe restrictions on the movement of people and streets looked deserted.

Chinese police last week said they "did not have any such information"
on reports of arrests.

Next month marks the first anniversary of protests against Chinese rule
in Lhasa and in Tibetan communities across the plateau, and the 50th
anniversary of the exile of the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing brands a

A week of demonstrations in Lhasa erupted in violence in March last year
when a Tibetan crowd burned shops belonging to Han Chinese and Hui
Muslims, killing 19 people.


Some say the Chinese crackdown followed a boycott call by some Tibetans
of the New Year's celebrations in February to commemorate the March
uprising and subsequent crackdown.

The Tibetan Youth Congress in Dharamsala plans hunger strikes and
protests to mark the New Year.

"The Kashag especially regrets the re-launching of the strike hard
campaign (by Chinese), patriotic re-education and forcing Tibetans to
celebrate Tibetan New Year," the exiled Tibetan government's statement said.

Thubten Samphel, Secretary of the government's Department of Information
and International Relations, told Reuters: "We feel it's time for
Chinese to exercise patience and restraint and not resort to an all out
war towards Tibetan people."
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