Chinese reportedly again use tear gas on Tibetan monks
(dpa) - Chinese police used tear gas on Tibetan Buddhist monks protesting for the second day in Lhasa to demand the release of imprisoned supporters of the exiled Dalai Lama, US-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on Wednesday.
Paramilitary units used tear gas against 500 to 600 monks from Sera monastery. On Tuesday 11 monks were arrested, including nine from Sera monastery.
On Monday, to mark the 49th anniversary of a Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, 300 monks left Drepung monastery to walk the 10 kilometres into Lhasa, the capital of China's Tibet region.
Between 50 and 60 monks were detained Tuesday by police and soldiers who used trucks to block the road at a checkpoint on the way to Lhasa.
"There were probably several thousand armed police," one eyewitness told RFA. The monks returned to their monastery late in the evening on Tuesday.
The Chinese government Wednesday criticized internationally expressed sympathies for Tibetan independence efforts, saying the issue concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"The Dalai Lama issue is not a religious or ethnic issue," said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on the sidelines of the annual session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress.
Yang noted that recently the German government had made it clear that it regarded Tibet to be a part of China.
"We hope that more and more countries will move in this direction and that more and more people will see through the conspiracy of the Dalai Lama to split China," Yang added.
The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, fled to India after the 1959 uprising against Chinese rule that was crushed by troops.
In a statement on Monday to mark the anniversary, the Dalai Lama said Tibetans in China were living under "increasing repression," with "gross violations of human rights, denial of religious freedom, and the politicization of religious issues."
On Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang accused the Dalai Lama of "distorting the facts."