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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Tibet protest sparked by row over flag: exiles

March 24, 2009

March 23, 2009

DHARAMSHALA, India (AFP) -- A protest in
northwest China at the weekend came after a monk
was arrested for pulling down a Chinese flag and
replacing it with a Tibetan one, the Tibetan
government-in-exile said on Monday.

More than 90 monks were held by authorities after
what Chinese state media reported was a riot in
which a mob attacked a police station in Rabgya,
a town in the mountains of Qinghai province.

It was the first reported case of major unrest in
Tibetan-populated areas this year and came less
than two weeks after the 50th anniversary of a
failed uprising against Chinese rule in the Himalayan region.

The Tibetan government-in-exile insisted the
protest was peaceful, denying the reports of
monks attacking the police station in the northwest province.

Thubten Samphel, spokesman for the administration
based in northern India, said the demonstration
was triggered by the Chinese treatment of the Tibetan population.

"Describing the incident as an attack is not
accurate as it has been used by the Chinese authorities," Samphel said.

"The Tibetan protests in front of the police
station came as a result of one young monk who
committed suicide by jumping into a river. That
he was forced to take such desperate action led
them to protest against the authorities."

Samphel said the monk had been arrested as he was
involved in pulling down a Chinese flag and replacing it with a Tibetan flag.

He later escaped and threw himself into the river.

"The Dalai Lama has requested Tibetans to show
restraint and also asked the Chinese authorities
not to provoke Tibetans by increasing the current
crackdown," Samphel told AFP in Dharamshala, the exiles' Indian base.

Chinese authorities have launched a massive
security clampdown in recent weeks to quell
possible unrest related to the anniversary of the
uprising, which led the Dalai Lama to flee into exile.

The official Xinhua news agency said all but two
of the 95 people arrested or who surrendered to
police were monks in the Rabgya monastery.
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