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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Nearly 100 Tibetan monks arrested as riots break out

March 23, 2009

By Malcolm Moore in Chengdu
The Telegraph
March 22, 2009

The attack is the latest sign of anger in Tibet
over a heavy-handed Chinese clampdown on the
region during the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's flight into exile.

The riot came after Chinese police detained
Tibetan monk Tashi Sangpo, 25, on Friday in
La'gyab township in the western province of Qinghai.

He was arrested for replacing the Chinese flag
with a Tibetan one in the main prayer hall of his
monastery on March 10, the anniversary of the
uprising that led to the Dalai Lama's flight.

Trouble flared after he later disappeared from
his cell and was rumoured to have plunged into a
river, prompting accusations from locals that his
death had been caused by the police.

The Chinese authorities have insisted that the
monk escaped from captivity and the police played
no part in his death. They said six people had
been arrested and 89 more had surrendered to
police, with all but two of the 95 people being
monks from the La'gyab Monastery.

"He managed to run away from the police station
Saturday afternoon on the excuse of using the
bathroom," said Xinhua, the official Chinese news
agency, adding that a crowd of monks then
attacked the police station. "Police said the people were deceived by rumours."

The Tibetan government-in-exile, based in
Dharamsala in India, reported that 4,000 people
were involved in the clashes, while police claimed the number was nearer 100.

A statement from the Tibetan government-in-exile
said: "After the incident, the security forces
have maintained strict patrol and completely locked down the monastery."

The monk's body has not yet been found, and the
situation in the region continues to be "very tense" according to the Tibetans.

China has poured troops into Tibet and its
surrounding provinces in order to maintain
control and snuff out any dissent over this sensitive period. .

All foreigners have been denied entry into
Greater Tibet, which includes parts of the
surrounding provinces of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai.

Roadblocks have been set up on roads leading out
of Chengdu, in Sichuan, and police with machine
guns have been posted at motorway toll booths.

Farmers in Karze, a Tibetan area of Sichuan, have
launched a "farming boycott" in order to protest
against the Chinese and more than 60 have been
arrested, according to pro-Tibet activists in Dharamsala.

Meanwhile, an enormous manhunt was under way in
the central Chinese city of Chongqing after a
soldier was killed and his machine gun stolen.

The 18-year-old sentry, named as Han Junliang,
was on duty outside an army barracks when he was
shot by an unknown number of masked men.

A spokesman for Chongqing's local government said
it was an "act of terrorism" but declined to give any further details.

Given Chongqing's relative proximity to Greater
Tibet, there was speculation that the attack
might have been linked to the region. Attacks on
Chinese soldiers are extremely rare.
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