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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."

China quake survivors found as death toll nears 2,000

April 20, 2010


Two survivors have been rescued from the rubble in China's Qinghai province, as the number of people killed in the quake five days ago reached 1,944.

Wujin Cuomao, 68, and a four-year-old girl, Cairen Baji, were found under a house near Jiegu in Yushu County, the worst-hit town, state media said.

They had been kept alive by water and food passed through gaps in the debris.

Tens of thousands of people have been made homeless in the remote region by the powerful 6.9-magnitude quake.

Another 12,135 were injured, many of them seriously, and 216 people are still missing, officials say.

China's CCTV broadcast images of the two survivors as they were taken for medical treatment.

They been trapped under a bed in a village about 20km (13 miles) from Jiegu. It was not clear whether the two were related.

'Nothing left'

Officials say people in the quake zone now have basic shelter, food and water, but it has not been easy to get supplies to the area 4,000m (13,000ft) above sea-level.

Miao Chonggang, deputy head of the China Earthquake Administration, said some 15,000 rescue personnel were on the scene.

This included 11,000 soldiers, 2,800 firefighters and 1,500 search and rescue workers, he told Xinhua.

One man, Zhang Zhaojun, said he had only received a tent so far and feared for his family's future.

"Life would be very difficult. All the houses here have collapsed and we don't have any economic means to support ourselves," he told Reuters.

"We have nothing. It is going to be very difficult for us."

Thousands of people have slept in the open since Wednesday's quake, despite freezing temperatures.

Ninety-seven percent of Yushu's population is ethnic Tibetan and hundreds of translators have been sent to the region.

Tibetan Buddhist monks have been heavily involved in the emergency operation, digging through the rubble for survivors, distributing aid and collecting bodies.

Many of the monks have travelled from other provinces to help.

"We have over 10,000 monks here for one reason - to save people," one monk told the Associated Press news agency on Monday.

On Sunday, the bodies of more than 700 quake victims were burned on vast funeral pyres.

The scale of the deaths meant that traditional Tibetan sky burials - where bodies are left in the open to be eaten by vultures - were impossible.

President Hu Jintao, who visited Qinghai on Sunday, has promised the region will be rebuilt.

On Saturday, the Dalai Lama appealed to the Chinese authorities to allow him to visit the quake zone.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader was born in Qinghai province but has not set foot in China since a failed Tibetan uprising more than 50 years ago.

Correspondents say it is highly unlikely that the Chinese government - who see the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist - will agree to his request.

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