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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China stepping up Tibet repression, activists say

August 19, 2008

Reuters
Guardian (UK)
August 18, 2008

BEIJING, Aug 18 (Reuters) -- China has stepped up repression in its
ethnic Tibetan regions to prevent any protests during the Beijing
Olympics, an activist group said on Monday.

Tibet, which Communist troops entered in 1950, witnessed violent
rioting in March, which led to anti-government demonstrations across
Tibetan areas of China, deeply embarrassing Beijing just months
before the Games.

"To prevent potentially embarrassing protests inside Tibet, China has
turned large parts of Tibet into a virtual prison for the duration of
the Games," Matt Whitticase, spokesman for the Free Tibet Campaign,
said in a statement.

The government's reaction to the Tibet unrest sparked demonstrations
abroad that dogged the international leg of the Olympic torch relay
and turned what was meant to be a symbol of Chinese unity into an
obstacle course.

China poured security forces into its Tibetan areas, which extend
across several western provinces, to quell the unrest, and Free Tibet
Campaign said the military build-up was accompanied by policies aimed
at punishing activist monks and monasteries.

China's Foreign Ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism who has
lived in exile in India since a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese
rule, has chimed in, saying ongoing mistreatment of Tibetans violated
Olympic values.

"Unfortunately the Olympic spirit is not being respected at all by
Chinese officials in Tibet," he said in an interview in France on Saturday.

Chinese officials have said they oppose any link between Tibet and
the Olympics. They see the issue as an internal affair and view the
demonstrations as the work of a small group of people bent on Tibet
independence. (Reporting by Lindsay Beck; Editing by Nick Macfie)
(For more stories visit our multimedia website "2008 Summer Olympics"
at http://www.reuters.com/news/sports/2008olympics; and see our blog
at http://blogs.reuters.com/china)
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