Thu, Feb 12, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Number of Tibetans sentenced for riots rises to 76: Xinhua

AP , BEIJING

China has sentenced 76 people and detained more than 950 others since last year’s deadly anti-government riots in Tibet, state media said yesterday.

The report by the official Xinhua new agency attributed the latest figures to Nyima Tsering, a Tibetan Communist Party official, but did not elaborate on what the sentences were, what charges they faced or what happened to those detained.

The latest figures, however, indicate the legal process is ongoing. Authorities said in November that 55 people had been sentenced.

The government has released few details of the aftermath of the March 14 violence, the largest uprising against Chinese rule in nearly 50 years. Beijing says 22 people died, but Tibetan supporters say many times that number were killed in the protests and subsequent military crackdown.

Beijing, which maintains a tight grip in the region, has said the March protests were part of a violent campaign by exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his supporters to overthrow Chinese rule.

The Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has denied involvement in violence and says he wants only greater autonomy for Tibet.

Last month, China launched a security sweep ahead of one of the region’s most sensitive events in years — the 50th anniversary in March of a failed uprising that saw the Dalai Lama flee to exile.

In preparation for the possibility of more unrest, the public security bureau of Lhasa started a “strike hard” campaign against crime, with raids on residential areas, Internet cafes, bars, rented rooms, hotels and guesthouses, state media has reported.

At least 50 people have been detained so far, the reports said.

“Illegal elements will be struck down if they conduct illegal activities,” yesterday’s Xinhua report quoted Lhasa Deputy Mayor Cao Bianjiang (曹邊疆) as saying.

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