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Case packed with TNT found in Tibet capital: report

March 19, 2009

By Chris Buckley
Reuters
March 18, 2009

BEIJING -- Chinese security forces recently
destroyed a case filled with explosives found in
Tibet's regional capital of Lhasa, and broke up a
group behind an attempted attack, an official newspaper said Wednesday.

Tibet this month passed sensitive anniversaries
marking 50 years since the Dalai Lama, Tibet's
Buddhist leader, fled into exile, and one year
since deadly protests and riots against Chinese
rule erupted across Tibetan areas.

The People's Armed Police News, newspaper of
China's domestic security troops, said "one day
in early spring" paramilitary patrolling Lhasa's
railway station came across an abandoned pink suitcase.

Checks showed the case was "packed with TNT
explosives," said the newspaper. It did not say how big the case was.

"After a robot safely dismantled it, the
explosives were successfully destroyed in just 14
minutes, avoiding a bloody incident," it said.

But a spokesman for the Tibet Autonomous Region
government denied the report when reached by telephone and asked to comment.

The report did not specify the date of the
incident, and "one day in early spring" may cover February or March.

Beijing has imposed a clampdown in Tibetan areas
to deter fresh unrest and has accused supporters
of the Dalai Lama, whom it brands a separatist,
of seeking to foment protests and riots.

The Dalai Lama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize,
has condemned violence, and Tibetan exile groups
say Beijing exaggerates the threat of violence
from discontented Tibetans to justify its harsh security controls.

The newspaper said security forces broke up a
group linked to the case, but did not provide
further details on their identity.

"The public security forces followed the clues
and joined hands with the People's Armed Police
to strike down an illegal organization threatening Tibet's security," it said.

The overseas edition of the People's Daily,
official newspaper of the Communist Party, said
punishment of rioters in Tibet was like the U.S.
reaction to al Qaeda after the September 11
attacks and called the Dalai Lama a tool of
hostile Western forces in the latest broadside
against Tibet's spiritual leader.

"If the United States can throw the perpetrators
of September 11 into jail, why can't China
convict these people for attacking, smashing,
arson and murder?" the newspaper said in a front-page commentary.

"This contrast shows the double standards of bullying American politicians."

Last year's riots in Lhasa broke out after
security forces moved against protesting Buddhist
monks. These clashes then sparked protests and riots across the region.

Exiled Tibetan groups say more than 200 people
died in the subsequent confrontations and
crackdown. China has rejected those claims and said it used minimal force.

(Editing by Nick Macfie)
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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