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26 arrested, weapons seized from China monastery: state media

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) March 30, 2008
Police have arrested 26 people and seized guns and other weapons from a monastery in southwestern China whose Tibetan monks rioted this month, state-controlled Xinhua news agency said.

Police found 30 guns, 498 bullets, four kilogrammes (2 pounds) of explosives and a "large amount" of knives on Friday in the Geerdeng monastery in Sichuan province, said the report issued late Saturday, which cited local police.

It said 26 "suspects" were arrested for alleged involvement in the clash on March 16 with local authorities but did not specify whether they were monks.

Monks from the monastery, located in Aba county, were among those who attacked government buildings in the violent outburst following deadly anti-China rioting in the Tibetan capital Lhasa two days earlier, according to official Chinese accounts and those of overseas Tibet activists.

It was impossible to independently verify the report as Aba is within a wide swathe of territory sealed off by China as it seeks to prevent the Tibetan unrest from tarnishing the Olympics which Beijing hosts in August.

The report also said police had seized satellite phones, receivers for overseas TV channels, fax machines and computers, the banned flag of the Tibetan government-in-exile and banners calling for Tibet independence.

A monk-led protest in Lhasa on March 10 to mark a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule escalated days later into widespread rioting that spilled into neighbouring Chinese provinces populated by Tibetans.

Beijing says rioters have killed 18 civilians and two police officers. Exiled Tibetan leaders have put the death toll from the Chinese crackdown at 135-140 Tibetans, with another 1,000 injured and many detained.

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Nepal to put troops on Everest to block Tibet demos
Kathmandu (AFP) March 28, 2008
Nepal is to deploy soldiers on its side of Mount Everest to prevent pro-Tibet protests when China carries the Olympic torch to the summit in early May, officials told AFP Friday.

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