(dpa) - The Dalai Lama has appealed to the international community for its "continued support," saying the Chinese authorities had deployed a large number of troops to crack down on the unrest in Tibet and had sealed these areas to the outside world.
The Tibetan spiritual leader insisted the protests were a manifestation of the "deep-rooted resentment" not only in the so-called Tibetan Autonomous Region, but also in traditional Tibetan areas now incorporated into Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, where millions of Tibetans live.
"According to reliable sources, the Chinese authorities have deployed large contingents of troops in these traditional Tibetan regions and have not only started to crack down heavily on the Tibetans allegedly involved in the unrest, but also sealed off areas where the protests have taken place," the Dalai Lama said in a statement issued late on Wednesday night.
The Dalai Lama is based in the north Indian hill town of Dharamsala, with his government-in-exile.
In the statement posted on his website, the Dalai Lama appealed to world leaders, parliamentarians, NGOs and members of the public for support in urging an end to the crackdown, the release of all detainees and the provision of medical treatment to the injured.
Quoting reports, he said many injured Tibetans were afraid to go the Chinese-run hospitals and clinics for treatment. The Dalai Lama requested that an independent international body be sent to probe the protests.
"I would also request you to encourage the sending of an independent international body, to investigate the unrest and its underlying causes, as well as allowing the media and international medical teams to visit the affected areas," he said.
He maintained that international presence would reassure Tibetans and be a restraining influence on Chinese authorities.
Pro-independence demonstrations and unrest began in Tibetan areas on March 10, the 49th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.
The protests escalated into rioting on March 14 in Lhasa. The Chinese government has said 19 people were killed in the violence in Lhasa but the Tibetan government-in-exile said about 140 people were killed, most of them Tibetans shot by Chinese police.
Protests erupted in other Tibetan areas of China, which is home to about six million Tibetans, including some 2.5 million in the Autonomous Region.