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Dalai Lama Calls for International Investigation Into Violence in Tibet

By VOA News
16 March 2008

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader says there should be an investigation into the recent violence in Tibet, and he accused China of committing what he called "cultural genocide" in his homeland.

The Dalai Lama told reporters at his base of Dharmasala in northern India Sunday that the international community should find out what is happening in Tibet. However, he said Beijing should be allowed to host this year's Olympics.

Violent protests, meanwhile, were reported today in the Chinese province of Sichuan, with clashes between police and Tibetan protesters.

Tibet's government-in-exile said today it has confirmed the deaths of 80 people in clashes Friday with Chinese authorities in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.

Spokesman Thubten Samphel told reporters in northern India today that another 72 people were injured, in the most violent challenge to Chinese rule since 1989.

Chinese authorities have put the death toll from Friday's violence at 10.

Hundreds of Chinese police and soldiers are patrolling the Tibetan capital to prevent further unrest. Lhasa was quiet but tense today -- two days after Tibetans torched buildings and stoned police.

Chinese authorities are threatening severe punishment of protesters who do not surrender by Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Saturday called on the Chinese government to exercise restraint in responding to the protests and to release detained monks and other demonstrators.

Also Saturday, protesters sympathizing with the demonstrators in Tibet took to the streets in more than half a dozen countries, including the United States, China, Nepal, Australia and Switzerland.

Many of those demonstrations turned violent, including in China, Nepal and Australia. Police in New York City reported injuries among both police officers and protesters after demonstrators reportedly threw rocks at the Chinese consulate.

China has controlled Tibet since 1951. The Dalai Lama and thousands of his followers fled to India from Tibet in 1959 during the failed revolt against Chinese rule.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP, Reuters.

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