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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Chinese authorities blocking internet for celebration of Tibetan New Year

February 25, 2009

Already closed to foreign visitors, the region is increasingly isolated
from the world. Beijing is massing troops in the zone, ready to repress
any protest.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - In view of the Tibetan New Year (Losar),
which falls on February 25, residents of the region are denouncing that
the internet has been completely blocked, isolating them from the world.
In recent days, Beijing has increased the massive presence of police and
army personnel in Tibet and in the nearby areas of Tibetan ethnicity, in
Gansu, Sichuan, and elsewhere. For some time, these areas have been
off-limits to foreign tourists.

Losar is the biggest holiday for Tibetans, but this year many of them
have decided not to celebrate it, in order to protest the harsh
repression by the Chinese army in March of 2008, which still continues.
2009 also marks the 50th anniversary of the anti-Chinese revolt on March
10, 1959, which was violently repressed, and the resulting flight of the
Dalai Lama into exile.

The Chinese authorities have responded to the Losar boycott with arrests
and intimidation. The Chinese army has camped out on the outskirts of
Kangding (Sichuan), an area heavily populated by Tibetans, and is
patrolling the streets of the city.

In Lithang, county of Kardze, 24 Tibetans were arrested last week after
taking to the streets to chant support for the Dalai Lama and promote
the new year "boycott." In response, the police, in riot gear, set up
checkpoints in Yajiang, a city on the way to Lithang.

The tight police control and the ban on foreigners have also seriously
affected the tourism industry, important for many areas of the region.
The poor Kangding (Dardo for the Tibetans) was a routine tourist
destination. But the news of the protests and repression has frightened
tourists, creating further problems for the local economy.
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