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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

China crackdown for Tibet anniversary: Dalai Lama

February 25, 2009

February 24, 2009

BYLAKUPPE, India (AFP) — The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama,
warned Tuesday of a Chinese crackdown in Tibet ahead of next month's
highly sensitive 50th anniversary of a failed uprising against Beijing.

The warning came as China reportedly closed Tibet to foreign tourists
and tightened security in the Himalayan region.

"The strike-hard campaign has been re-launched in Tibet and there is a
heavy presence of armed security and military forces ... all over
Tibet," the Dalai Lama said in a message on the eve of the Tibetan New
Year Wednesday.

"In particular, special restrictions have been imposed in the
monasteries... and restrictions have been imposed on the visit of
foreign tourists," he said in this southern Indian town, home to
thousands of exiled Tibetans.

More than 200 Tibetans were killed last March in a Chinese crackdown
against protests that coincided with the 49th anniversary of the March
10, 1959 failed uprising against Beijing, according to Tibet's
government-in-exile in India.

Beijing denies this, but has reported that police killed one
"insurgent", and blamed "rioters" for 21 deaths.

China's recent moves suggested it planned "to subject the Tibetan people
to such a level of cruelty and harassment that they will not be able to
tolerate and thus be forced to remonstrate," the Dalai Lama said.

"When this happens, the authorities can then indulge in an unprecedented
and unimaginable forceful clampdown," he added.

"Therefore, I would like to make a strong appeal to the Tibetan people
to exercise patience and not to give in to these provocations so that
the precious lives of many Tibetans are not wasted."

The Dalai Lama has been living in India since fleeing his homeland in
the wake of the failed 1959 uprising.

His warning came as tour agencies and other industry people said China
had closed Tibet to foreign tourists ahead of the anniversary.

"Authorities asked tour agents to stop organising foreigners coming to
Tibet for tour trips until April 1," an employee at a government-run
travel agency in Lhasa, who could not be named for fear of reprisals,
told AFP.

A hotel in the Tibetan capital and three travel agencies in the
southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu that normally organise trips into
Tibet also confirmed the ban on foreigners.
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