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Dalai Lama Calls for International Probe Into Tibet Protests

By Anjana Pasricha
New Delhi
17 March 2008

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and his administration based in India, are calling for an independent, international investigation into the protests that have gripped Tibet. Anjana Pasricha reports for VOA from New Delhi.

Tibet's government-in-exile, which operates from the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, says it wants the international community and the United Nations to send delegations to Tibet to verify how and why the protests erupted in the region.

Beijing says the violence in Tibet has been engineered by supporters of the Dalai Lama. The spokesman for Tibet' government in exile, Thubten Samphel, denies that.

"The Chinese government has accused His Holiness [the Dalai Lama] of masterminding the demonstrations, so because of these conflicting views his Holiness said that maybe a body from the United Nations may visit Tibet and find out what the reality is, whether the demonstrations have been instigated from outside, and what the real concerns of the Tibetan people are," he said.

The exiled Tibetan administration says about 80 people have died in the recent unrest in Lhasa and adjoining areas, according to information they have gathered from inside Tibet. China says the toll from the violence is much lower.

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet after the failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule, has likened the protests in Tibet to a "people's movement".

He has long been an advocate of non violence and dialogue with Chinese authorities as a way of achieving his goal of autonomy for Tibet.

In the wake of the recent protests, he said Sunday he remained committed to that path. But at the same time, the Dalai Lama said he would not order an end to the demonstrations.

Meanwhile, Tibetan exile communities in India and Nepal organized more protests Monday. In New Delhi, they rallied outside the United Nations office. In Kathmandu, police clashed with protesters gathered near the main U.N. office.

The protests outside Tibet have been organized by Tibetan exiles to draw international attention to what they call gross human-rights violations in the region by the Chinese. Beijing denies any charges of repression in Tibet, which it has controlled since 1951.

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