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Lhasa toll 10
100 killed: Exile group

Tibet’s main exile group, quoting unconfirmed sources, claimed in Dharamsala on Saturday that the Chinese police had killed about 100 Tibetan demonstrators and injured many more during protests against the Chinese rule.

Beijing, March 15
At least 10 persons were killed and many injured in the worst pro-independence street protests to rock Tibetan capital Lhasa in two decades as China struggled to quell the monks-led revolt that reverberated worldwide and threatened to cast a shadow on 2008 Olympics here.

“The victims are all innocent civilians and they have been burnt to death,” a local official said in Lhasa.

The Chinese head of the Tibetan government vowed stern action against the rioters, while authorities asked the protesters to surrender by Monday or face punishment.

“We will deal harshly with these criminals in accordance with the law,” Champa Phutsok, chairman of Tibetan government, told reporters here, adding the “plot is doomed to failure.”

After a day of rioting, streets in Lhasa remained virtually deserted today with burnt cars, motorcycles and bicycles strewn all over and smoke billowing from them.

While authorities said the situation was “in the process of calming down” in Lhasa, fresh protests erupted on China’s northwest Gansu province near Tibet with police using tear gas to disperse the monks that gathered near Labrang Monasty, London-based Free Tibet campaign claimed.

Monks had held a similar protest yesterday in the province which has a large ethnic Tibetan population.

Protests were held at the UN headquarters, in front of the Chinese consulate in Sydney and outside the UN office in Nepal today as part of the stir launched to mark the 49th anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising against the 57-year Chinese rule in the Himalayan region which turned violent on the sixth day yesterday.

The protesters carrying placards and yellow and red Tibetan flags shouted “Free Tibet!” and “Wake up United Nations!” and “No peace, no Olympics!” outside the UN office in New York.

Among the 10 dead in yesterday’s violence, two were hotel employees and two shop owners. No foreigner was among the dead, the government said.

The demonstrations came ahead of the August 8-24 Beijing Olympics, which human rights organisations want to link with improvement in the rights situation in China and have been pressing the West to take up the issue with the communist country.

Sun Weide, a spokesman for the Beijing Olympics organising committee, however, said the unrest would not have a negative impact on the games or the torch relay.

Preparations to carry the Olympic torch across Tibet “have been proceeding very smoothly and according to schedule,” Sun said.

While international community including the US, UK, France, Germany and Sweden, expressed concern over the violence and urged China to exercise restraint, Beijing intensified its vitriolic attack on Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama describing him as an “impudent politician” who had turned Lhasa into a land of terror.

“The intention harboured behind the monk’s claim of seeking “real or greater autonomy” of Tibet also proved hypocritical when hundreds of his followers yelled independence, attacked police, smashed windows, robbed shops, and set cars and a mosque ablaze,” state media said.

“China’s judicial organ will properly deal with the people who engaged themselves in creating unrest in Lhasa according to law,” said Sun Qian, deputy procurator-general of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, said.

Sun said the unrest in Lhasa was provoked by “a handful of monks” and was a “political scheme premeditated by the Dalai clique to separate Tibet from China and sabotage the normal, harmonious and peaceful life of people in Tibet.” “The unrest is in the process of calming down,” said Sun at a press conference on the sidelines of the national legislature’s annual session.

International media also urged the world leaders to press China to respect the rights of Tibetans.

“Today the eyes of the world are on China. The Olympic games are focusinga attention on the country whose economic and diplomatic power have made it more important than ever before,” British daily Guardian said.

The Times warned that if Beijing resorted to “brutuality of Burmese (Myanmar) junta that would give rise to disgust so strong that it could defeat the spirit of the games.” “World leaders should also urge China to follow its constitution, which requires freedom of speech and religion, as well as self-rule for ethnic minorities,” US daily The Washington Times said.

“It is, after all, the lack of these rights in practice that is pushing resentful Tibetans into extremism.” — PTI



India watching situation in Tibet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 15
India is monitoring the situation in China in the wake of widespread violence among Tibetans and Chinese troops in Lhasa, and would come out with its official statement in a day or two.

Minister for external affairs Pranab Mukherjee told mediapersons on the sidelines of a conference on “Cooperative development and peace in Central Asia” here today that since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was out of New Delhi yesterday, the issue could not be discussed.

On the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, he said it was very much on and he was scheduled to hold discussions with the Left on the matter. “I am hopeful that a solution will emerge,” he said.

When asked to comment on BJP leader L.K. Advani’s statement that the nuclear deal was “dead”, the external affairs minister did not elaborate, instead saying that he did not know the BJP leader’s source of information.

On his forthcoming visit to the US, he said the nuclear deal was not the only issue on the agenda. “There are a number of bilateral and strategic issues between the two countries, including trade and economic coperation which would come up for discussions,” he said, pointing out that the US was India’s largest trading partner.


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