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China crush monks for celebrating His Holiness' medal in Tibet

October 24, 2007

22 October 2007

Dharamshala: Several hundreds of Buddhist monks, celebrating U.S.
Congressional Gold Medal award for His Holiness the Dalai Lama,
clashed with police for four days in the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, a
Hong Kong newspaper said on Sunday.

The newspaper reported that members of the paramilitary Peopleïž’s Armed
Police moved in to stop the monks of Drepung monastery, who left
peacefully to take part in morning prayers. When the monks returned to
resume whintewashing the monastery buildings, the police moved in
again, resulting in violent scuffles, according to sources who
declined to be identified for fear of repercussions.

3,000 armed police surrounded the sprawling monastery, once the
largest in the world with as many as 10,000 monks in residence, and
refused to allow anyone to leave. Local sources said that hundreds of
monks may have been arrested and several injured. Similar clashes were
reported at the smaller Nechung monastery.

It did not say if there had been any arrests or injuries, but there
had also been clashes at a nearby monastery and police had set up
checkpoints on the main roads in the area.

After the clash, about 1,100 monks and dozens of visitors were not
allowed to leave the Drepung monastery in Lhasa, which was surrounded
by 3,000 armed police, the Hong Kong newspaper said.

The clashes coincided with Chinaïž’s ruling Communist Party concluding
its 17th Congress yesterday with an announcement that it had included
a reference to religion in its constitution for the first time.

U.S. President George W. Bush awarded His Holiness the Dalai Lama the
highest US civilian honor on Wednesday and called on China to open
talks with him.

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