Tibetan exiles worried as Chinese deadline nears

March 17th, 2008 - 9:42 pm ICT by admin  

Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), March 17 (IANS) An anxious Tibetan government-in-exile in India Monday issued an urgent appeal to the world community to stop China from taking extreme steps against protestors in Tibet, as the deadline set by Chinese government nears. The Chinese government has warned protestors in Tibet to surrender by midnight local time or face “dire consequences”.

“The current situation in Tibet is extremely serious. The Chinese government’s ultimatum is due to expire at midnight today (Monday). So, we are concerned there could be a huge massacre of Tibetans after the ultimatum,” a spokesman of the Tibetan government-in-exile here said.

“We appeal to the international community, the United Nations, human rights groups, among others, to urge the Chinese leadership to immediately stop repression, release detainees and provide medical aid to all the injured,” the spokesman said.

“We particularly urge the United Nations Human Rights Commission to send a fact-finding delegation to all affected areas in Tibet and prevent further worsening of the situation”.

Anti-China protests in Tibet began a week ago on the 49th anniversary of the uprising against the Chinese rule. Security forces suppressed it violently after protesters, including monks, attacked government property in Lhasa.

There have been conflicting reports of the exact number of casualties in the ongoing crackdown. The Chinese authorities claim only 10 died, but the Tibetan government-in-exile puts the toll at nearly 80 killed.

Meanwhile, anti-China protests continued in Dharamsala and other parts of the country.

The Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) Monday ignored the Dalai Lama’s demand for autonomy instead of freedom for Tibet.

A TYC official told reporters it would not settle for anything less than the independence of Tibet from the Chinese rule and warned that the protests would continue indefinitely.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, Sunday accused China of “committing cultural genocide in Tibet”. He said an ancient heritage in Tibet was under threat from the Chinese rule.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet after a failed coup against the Chinese communist regime in 1959. Some 100,000 Tibetan refugees live in India.

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