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Tibetan Exiles Report Small Protests Ahead of Sensitive Anniversary

March 17, 2009

Voice of America
16 March 16, 2009

Tibetan exiles say Tibetans have defied a Chinese
security clampdown to stage small protests in
recent weeks during a sensitive anniversary period.

The Indian-based Tibetan government in exile said
Sunday it has received new information about
peaceful demonstrations in Kardze (Chinese:
Ganzi) county in western Sichuan province.  The
exile government said Chinese authorities
arrested a Buddhist nun, a monk and two other
Tibetans during protests in early March.

There was no immediate Chinese government confirmation.

Exile sources also reported scattered acts of
protests in other Tibetan towns in the Tibet
Autonomous Region, as well as neighboring Qinghai
and Sichuan provinces.  In some places, Tibetans
were said to have written slogans on walls
calling for Tibetan independence and the return
of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

The exile government and the Dalai Lama have
appealed to Tibetans not to engage in protests or
other activities that could provoke a Chinese crackdown.

In other news, the Tibetan man recognized by the
Chinese government as the reincarnation of an
important spiritual figure, the Panchen Lama,
praised the Chinese Communist Party for
liberating Tibet from feudal oppression.  China's
official Xinhua news agency said 19-year-old
Gyaltsen Norbu told reporters in Beijing that the
Tibetan people should cherish what he called
their "prosperity and happy lives."

Most Tibetans recognize Gendun Choekyi Nyima as
the Panchen Lama because he was endorsed by the
Dalai Lama.  The Chinese government says that
young man and his family, who have not been seen
in public since 1995, are living a healthy life
and do not want to be disturbed.

Chinese security forces patrolled Tibetan towns,
set up checkpoints and conducted door-to-door
searches last week to prevent a repeat of last
year's protests against Chinese rule on the anniversary of an uprising in 1959.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.
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