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Fresh Protests Reported in Tibet During Foreign Diplomats' Visit

By VOA News
30 March 2008

Fresh protests were reported in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa Saturday, as diplomats from the United States, Japan and several European countries wrapped up a closely managed tour of the region organized by Chinese officials.

The International Campaign for Tibet and Tibet's government in exile said new protests had occurred near major Buddhist temples in Lhasa where earlier demonstrations turned violent March 14.

Diplomats from 15 countries visited the Tibetan capital on a Chinese-approved tour of the region.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said in a statement that the trip to Lhasa was heavily scheduled and participants were not able to deviate from the official itinerary, nor move around independently. The delegates were also not allowed to hold unsupervised conversations with local residents.

On Thursday, about 30 monks of the Jokhang Temple disrupted a similar government-controlled visit by foreign journalists. The monks complained about a lack of religious freedom.

Peaceful demonstrations in Lhasa began March 10, on the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. The unrest erupted into riots in Lhasa four days later, followed by a crackdown on protesters.

The Tibetan government in exile, based in India, says at least 140 Tibetans were killed during Chinese authorities' crackdown on protests in Lhasa and other areas.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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