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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China Raises Tibet Security Before Revolt Anniversary

March 11, 2009

By James Peng
Bloomberg
March 9, 2009

China stepped up security and border controls in Tibet before tomorrow’s 50th anniversary of an anti- Chinese uprising to quell possible protests, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

Armed police have been deployed in areas of Tibet, Xinhua said, citing Legqog, the chairman of the Standing Committee of the Tibetan Autonomous Regional People’s Congress. Legqog, who uses one name, said the police operations are temporary.

"They are defensive against possible disturbances from the Dalai Lama’s group," Legqog said yesterday, referring to the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader. “Most parts of Tibet are stable.”

The anti-Chinese revolt on March 10, 1959, triggered a military crackdown and forced the Dalai Lama to flee to India. Tibet experienced the worst unrest in almost 20 years after Chinese security forces suppressed a protest by monks in Lhasa a year ago.

China has also tightened controls on Tibets borders, Xinhua said in another report, citing Fu Hongyu, political commissioner of the Ministry of Public Security Border Control Department.

"We will firmly crack down on criminal activities in Tibet’s border area that pose a threat to China’s sovereignty and government,” Fu was cited as saying.

Barring Reporters

China has barred reporters from Tibet and placed the region under "de facto martial law" ahead of the March 10 anniversary, the Free Tibet human rights group said last week.

Tibet’s government-in-exile, based in Dharamshala in northern India, said in January the Chinese authorities began a crackdown in the run-up to the anniversary.

It said 21 Tibetans in the southwestern province of Sichuan were arrested in mid-February for demanding the return of the Dalai Lama, citing the India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.

The Dalai Lama will address a gathering in Dharamshala tomorrow to commemorate the 50th anniversary, the exiled government said yesterday on its Web site.

China says at least 19 people were killed in rioting in Lhasa last March, most of them ethnic Han Chinese. The government-in-exile says 220 people were killed, about 1,300 injured and almost 7,000 detained or imprisoned.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Peng in Hong Kong at jpeng7@bloomberg.net.
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