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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."

Tibet: police denies allegations that it shot at monk who set himself on fire

March 5, 2009

Chinese authorities are starting to worry about news reaching the world about repression in Tibet. Xinhua reports police did not fire at the monk who set himself on fire, but no one knows where he is. Tight army control remains in the area.
March 3, 2009

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) -- Chinese police has denied that its agents shot at a monk, last Thursday, after he set himself on fire.

Holding a Tibetan flag and picture of the Dalai Lama, Tapey, 24, from Kirti Monastery in Ngaba (Aba in Chinese),  Sichuan, poured fuel on his body and set himself on fire to protest against the ban imposed by Chinese authorities on celebrating a Tibetan religious holiday.

Eyewitnesses reported immediately that police shot at him three times and hit him at least once.

But the state-owned Xinhua news agency reported today that police "immediately put out the fire and sent the young man to hospital."

Tibetan groups strongly disagree.

The Ven. Ngawang Woebar, a monk who heads the Former Tibetan Political Prisoner Movement (Guchusum Movement), repeated the claim that police shot at Tapey three times, hit him once, and then rushed him away.

Last Saturday Woebar led a vigil that brought at least 500 people together (pictured) in Dharamsala to pray for Tapey.

The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said that the monk’s name does not appear in any local hospital.

It also reported that some 2,000 paramilitary troops have been stationed in Aba and Ruoergai Counties, closely monitoring local monasteries, out of concern for upcoming dates that will mark the anniversary of past anti-Chinese protests crushed in blood.

Phone communications to the area have been cut since Tibetan New Year (25 February).

China Mobile, which operates the mobile phone network in the area, said they are upgrading their system but failed to explain why only the Tibetan region was affected.
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