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Tibet riot anniversary passes in tense quiet

March 16, 2009

Last Updated: Saturday, March 14, 2009 |

CBC News

Carrying a portrait of the Dalai Lama, Tibetan supporters march in
Taipei on Saturday to protest Chinese rule in Tibet.Carrying a portrait
of the Dalai Lama, Tibetan supporters march in Taipei on Saturday to
protest Chinese rule in Tibet. (Wally Santana/Associated
Press)Paramilitary and plainclothes police were stationed throughout the
Tibetan capital on Saturday on the first anniversary of a violent
anti-Chinese riot.

The city of Lhasa was reported to be calm amid the patrols and checkpoints.

Rioting broke out in Lhasa on March 14 last year after days of protests
against Chinese rule by Buddhist monks. Chinese authorities said the
riots killed 18 civilians and a police officer. Exile groups said more
than 200 people died in the crackdown that followed.

At a news conference in Beijing on Friday, Premier Wen Jiabao said
tensions in the region are "totally and completely an internal affair."

The state-run Xinhua news agency also waded into the debate, saying
foreigners should "think twice before putting their fingers into
something they are ignorant of again."

Meanwhile, Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu and other Nobel
laureates have said China should stop "verbally abusing" the Dalai Lama
in light of his comments during this week's 50th anniversary of the
failed Tibetan uprising that sent him into exile.

Archbishop Tutu is asking Nobel Peace Prize winners, human rights
leaders and others to sign an online petition to express concern over
"the current deterioration of the human rights situation in Tibet."

As he marked the 50th anniversary of his exile earlier in the week, the
Dalai Lama told Buddhist followers in Dharamsala, India, that China's
rule over the decades has made life for Tibetans "hell on earth."

In Taiwan, hundreds of Taiwanese and Tibetan protesters marched in
downtown Taipei on Saturday to demand an end to Chinese rule in Tibet.

Participants said they wanted to support the Tibetans' right to choose
their own future, adding that they feared Taiwanese President Ma
Ying-jeou's China-friendly policy could lead Taiwan to share Tibet's
fate, which has involved increasing numbers of non-Tibetan Chinese
moving into the region, threatening Tibetan culture.

Since Ma's inauguration last May, he has improved long-strained
relations with China by resuming high-level talks and bolstering trade ties.

China claims both Taiwan and Tibet as its territory.
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