Tibetan Exile Leaders: China’s Violence Against Protesters ‘Unsustainable’

Posted January 30th, 2012 at 3:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Chinese state-run media have accused Tibetan exiles and unnamed Western governments of pursuing an “anti-Chinese agenda” when describing recent violence in Tibetan areas under Beijing's control.

Elected leaders of Tibet's exile community say Chinese security forces fired into a crowd of peaceful protesters last Thursday in southwestern Sichuan province, killing at least six people and wounding more than 60 others. Beijing acknowledged killing one person it called a “rioter,” and it said “mobs” used violence against Chinese police.

The official China Daily newspaper said accounts of the violence from exiles and from Western officials distort the events.

Tibetan exile officials have warned there is a definite risk of escalation in the violence, if Beijing continues to use bullets instead of listening to Tibetan concerns.

A spokeswoman and cabinet minister for the Tibetan administration-in-exile, Dekyi Chhoyang, dismissed the Chinese version of what happened, saying unrest in the region is a reaction by the Tibetan people to China's repressive policies.

At least 16 Tibetans, mostly Buddhist monks and nuns, have set themselves on fire to protest Beijing's oppression.

Many of the protests have been spurred by police trying to arrest activists who were posting leaflets declaring self-immolations by Buddhist monks and others will continue until Tibet is free.

The U.S. State Department has been urging China to start a dialogue with Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and address long-standing Tibetan grievances.

No foreigners are being allowed into Tibetan areas under Chinese control. Tibet's exile Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay has called for the United Nations to send a fact-finding team to the region.