China makes arrests in Tibet protests
Brett Murphy at 11:35 AM ET
[JURIST] China [JURIST news archive] has arrested 24 suspects in Tibet for their role in pro-Tibet protests [BBC backgrounder] that erupted throughout the region last week, the Tibet Daily reported Thursday. The suspects are charged with endangering national security, among other crimes, and many more are expected to be detained in the near future. Some groups maintain, however, that hundreds more have already been arrested. Deputy Chief Prosecutor in Lhasa Xie Yanjun said that evidence against the suspects is solid, and placed blame on the exiled Dalai Lama [personal website] for organizing the riots. Reuters has more.
Also on Thursday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] appealed to the government of Nepal to end its crackdown on Tibetan protesters in that country. On Tuesday, Nepalese police arrested 50 protesters [JURIST report] after roughly 200 Tibetan exiles demonstrated near the country's UN headquarters in Kathmandu, demanding a UN investigation into China's recent crackdown against the protests. HRW urged Nepal to "stop doing Beijing's bidding," saying that:
The government of Nepal should cease arbitrary arrests and detentions, harassment, and the use of excessive force to silence Tibetan protesters, activists and journalists, Human Rights Watch said today. Nepal's government, which came to power after protests against the rule of King Gyanendra, should reaffirm its commitment to freedom of assembly, association, and expression.According to HRW, when asked about the crackdown on protests, Nepali officials say that it is against state policy to allow protests against China. AP has more.
The protests, which began last Monday, escalated into violence Friday as protesters attacked police vehicles, non-Tibetans migrants, and businesses. On Sunday, the Chinese government blocked Internet access [JURIST report] to the video-sharing website YouTube after videos of the recent government crackdown appeared on the site. Rights groups have criticized China for ongoing human rights violations [HRW materials] targeted at Tibetans, and many call for the total independence [advocacy website] of the currently "semi-autonomous" region. The Dalai Lama, who accused China Sunday of committing "cultural genocide" [JURIST report] in Tibet, has encouraged the protests but said he will step down [AFP report] if the violence worsens.
2:32 PM ET - Chinese state media reported Thursday that Chinese police opened fire "in self defense" on four protesters earlier in the week, wounding the protesters. The shootings took place in Sichuan province, in an area with many ethnic Tibetans. Reuters has more.
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