Dozens of Tibetans gather with Dalai Lama picture
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Last Updated: Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 15:47
Beijing: Dozens of Tibetans, including monks, held up a portrait of the Dalai Lama in a community in southwestern China in an act of defiance days after other Tibetans set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule.

Police in Seda county said today that officers dealt with the gathering, but declined to say whether any of the Tibetans were arrested in the incident yesterday.

China is sensitive to protests by Tibetans because they threaten its control over its western region and may inspire protests in other parts of China by people with possible grievances against the government.

At least 16 Buddhist monks, nuns and other Tibetans are believed to have set themselves on fire in the past year four this month mostly in traditionally Tibetan areas of Sichuan province.

Most have chanted for Tibetan freedom and the return of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

China has vilified the Dalai Lama for more than a decade, accusing him of a campaign to split the Himalayan region from the rest of China, and has tried to get monks to denounce him in political education programs held in religious institutions in Tibetan areas. The Dalai Lama says he is only seeking increased autonomy for Tibet.

Yesterday, fewer than 100 Tibetans gathered and held a portrait of the Dalai Lama, said the official at Seda county public security bureau in Sichuan province who gave only his surname, Wang.

"The New Year festival is coming up so they want to draw attention by creating an incident," he said, referring to the Chinese New Year later this month.

Wang said police dealt with the incident, but declined to give any further details.


First Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 15:47

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