China says more than 660 surrender over Tibet unrest

26th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

660 people had surrendered over deadly protests in and near Tibet as Nicolas Sarkozy raised the prospect of boycotting the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

   BEIJING, March 26, 2008 - China said Wednesday at least 660 people
had surrendered over deadly protests in and near Tibet as French President
Nicolas Sarkozy raised the prospect of boycotting the Beijing Olympics opening
   More than 280 people had given themselves up to authorities following
deadly protests in the Tibetan capital Lhasa against Chinese rule, the
state-run Xinhua news agency said.
   Meanwhile in Ngawa, a region in Sichuan province in southwest China next to
Tibet, 381 people involved in recent clashes had also handed themselves over
to police, the state-run China Daily newspaper reported.
   "Most of those who have come forward are ordinary people and monks who were deceived or coerced," said Shu Tao, a local Communist Party chief, according to the China Daily.
   Lhasa prosecutors had also issued arrest warrants for 29 people allegedly
involved in a protest that broke out in the Tibetan capital on March 14, while
a "most-wanted" list of 53 people had been issued by police, Xinhua said.
   Tibet's government-in-exile has said 140 people had been killed in the
unrest over the past two weeks in Tibet and neighbouring areas with large
Tibetan populations, while China reported there had been 20 deaths.
   The protests against Beijing's rule of Tibet began in Lhasa on March 10 to
mark the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule in the
   But they quickly turned bloody and spilled over into other parts of the
country, with the Chinese authorities accused of heavy-handedness in its
repression of the demonstrations.
   Independent verification of the figures was made extremely difficult by a
Chinese decision to bar foreign reporters from travelling to areas affected by
the unrest.
   However, a first group of about a dozen selected foreign journalists was
scheduled to begin a guided three-day tour to Lhasa Wednesday.
   The unrest comes at a delicate time for the Chinese authorities with the
Beijing Olympic Games less than five months away and the eyes of the world on the booming Asian giant.
   French President Nicolas Sarkozy left open Tuesday the possibility of
boycotting the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony over China's crackdown.
   Sarkozy, who arrives in Britain for a two-day visit on Wednesday, said "all
options are open" regarding a boycott. He appealed to the "sense of
responsibility" of China's leaders over the unrest.
   The president's aides specified that France was still considering the
possibility of snubbing the opening ceremony, but ruled out boycotting the
entire Games.
   Other countries remained firmly against any boycott, with the White House
saying US President George W. Bush still planned to be present for the August
8 opening of the Olympics.
   Against the backdrop of tight control of the foreign media's movement in
and near Tibet, Chinese citizens voiced anger at what they considered unfair
reporting by overseas media.
   Chinese students abroad set up a website,, to collect
evidence of "one-sided and untrue" foreign reporting, blasting "the Western
Goebbels' Nazi media," according to the China Daily, in reference to German
dictator Hitler's propaganda minister.
   "In their reporting about the March unrest in Tibet, the western media have
once again showed their ugly and evil true face to the people of the world,"
the website said.
   Chinese authorities have repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan
spiritual leader who fled his homeland after the 1959 uprising, of
masterminding the latest unrest.
   But the Dalai Lama, who has said he is open to dialogue with Beijing,
denies this categorically and reiterated a pledge Tuesday to resign as
spokesman for the Tibetan people if there were more violent anti-Chinese
   Communist forces were sent into Tibet in 1950 to "liberate" the region, but
resentment and tension has simmered virtually ever since.


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