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Home The News News Tibetan high school students protest in west China towns

Tibetan high school students protest in west China towns

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Tibetan high school students protested in the streets of at least two towns in western China this week to mark the anniversary of an uprising against Chinese rule, and some have been detained, residents said yesterday.

The demonstrations appear to be the first unrest in tightly controlled Tibetan areas at a highly sensitive time. This month is the anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s flight into exile decades ago and an uprising across the areas in 2008.

Beijing has stepped up its security presence and promised to pour extra cash into development to calm the restive and strategically vital border region.

However, critics say if China does not address Tibetan concerns about the loss of their culture and heritage, stability will remain elusive.

At least 20 teenagers were taken into custody by police in the remote western town of Hezuo on Wednesday, shortly after a larger group began a protest, a hotel clerk said.

Hezuo is in a Tibetan corner of Gansu Province.

She declined to give her name, or comment on the motive for the protest, saying “only themselves know.”

On Sunday, dozens of teenagers also took to the streets of Machu, also in Gansu, chanting pro-Tibetan slogans, a supermarket manager who is Han Chinese said. He was not clear if anyone was arrested.

The town is now crawling with military police and feels safe and calm, said the manager, who declined to give his name because ethnic tensions in Tibetan areas are politically sensitive and discussing them with foreign journalists risks punishment.

A string of checkpoints have also been set up along the road to Langmu temple, about 70km away, since Sunday, a hotel employee near the monastery said, but added that he did not know the details of what happened in Machu.

The Gansu foreign affairs office and the Gansu provincial information office said they had not heard of any protests. Police in Machu and Hezuo did not answer calls.

Historically, Tibetan Machu, surrounded by vast grasslands, is in one of the areas that was worst hit by famines and purges during the rule of Mao Zedong (毛澤東) and foreigners have only been allowed to visit since 1999.


Source: Taipei Times 2010/03/19



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