Pattaya Daily News

18 March 2008 :: 16:03:09 pm 30072

China Continues Draconian Measures In Tibet

As tensions continue in Tibet, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao defended China?s crackdown in Tibet on Tuesday, accusing the Tibetan god-king and exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, of organizing rioting and seeking full independence from China.
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“There is ample fact and plenty of evidence proving this incident was organized, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique….This has all the more revealed the consistent claims by the Dalai clique that they pursue not independence but peaceful dialogue are nothing but lies,” Wen Jiabao claimed.

However, the Dalai Lama insists that he is only seeking autonomy for the region. He has called for an international inquiry into China’s crackdown, accusing it of a “rule of terror” and “cultural genocide”.

The monk-led pro-independence protests flared in Lhasa, Tibet’s regional capital, last Monday, March 10 and have overflowed into nearby Chinese provinces populated by Tibetans. In one incident, about 200 protesters threw petrol bombs and burned down a police station in Sichuan province, a police officer told Reuters.

Rioting, originating out of peaceful demonstrations commemorating the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising against Communist rule, soon followed, largely led by monks, in which a number of Chinese residents were killed. Hundreds of rioters were seen using hands, feet and sledge hammers to break down doors and shatter windows.

This provoked a draconian crackdown by the Chinese government, pouring heavily armed police and troops onto the streets to quell the unrest, with police using gunfire and tear gas. On Sunday, Hong Kong Cable TV reported that about 200 military vehicles, each carrying 40 to 60 armed soldiers, had driven into Lhasa.

So far there have been estimates of over 100 Tibetans killed and many more injured. The Chinese government originally claimed that there had only been 10 deaths, but the Tibetan government in exile vehemently contradicted this, saying at least 80 corpses had been counted, including those of 26 people killed on Saturday next to the Dratchi prison in Lhasa. Other bodies were evident near the Ramoche Buddhist temple, and near a Muslim mosque and a cathedral in Lhasa, said Tenzin Taklha, a senior aide to the Dalai Lama.

Demonstrators set fire to vehicles and shops, pulling Chinese motorcyclists from their bikes and stoning them to death. One source said late Friday that up to a third of Lhasa was on fire and that power lines had been cut. A main market in Lhasa, Tromsikhang Market, was set on fire, said Kate Saunders, a spokeswoman for the International Campaign for Tibet. The market has many Chinese traders, and she reported that Tibetans were concerned about the influx of Chinese into the area.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is reportedly “increasingly concerned” about continuing reports of violence and loss of life, expressing his concern to the Chinese ambassador. However, he has so far not declared that the United Nations secretariat intends to take any specific action.

The Dalai Lama, for his part, has asked for an independent U.N. probe of the situation in Tibet, supported by Amnesty International, who called for a U.N.-led fact-finding mission.

Further support has been forthcoming from the United States and the European Union and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told parliament: “We believe that the way forward is a dialogue between the different parties … We are calling for both restraint and an end to violence.” Meanwhile, there have been daily pro-Tibet protests around the world by various groups, including a candle-lit vigil in Beijing staged by ethnic Tibetan students. Other protests occurred in France, New York and Australia.

China is particularly concerned that its heavy response could lead to a boycott of the Beijing Olympics , however, so far, no foreign governments have called for a boycott.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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