March 18, 2008
Tibet Violence Spreads
Violence that began last week in Tibet's capitol city of Lhasa has spread to neighboring provinces as sympathy demonstrations broke out in Sichuan and cities as far away as Beijing.
Meanwhile, the Dali Llama has threatened to resign as head of state in exile if the violence by Tibetans continues:
The Dalai Lama, speaking to reporters, urged his countrymen to show restraint. He said that "if things become out of control" his "only option is to completely resign."The Chinese, who have clamped down tightly on information coming from Llahsa, say that "seperatists" and those who wish to ruin the Olympic games are at fault.
Later, one of his top aides clarified the Dalai Lama's comments. "If the Tibetans were to choose the path of violence he would have to resign because he is completely committed to nonviolence," Tenzin Taklha said. "He would resign as the political leader and head of state, but not as the Dalai Lama. He will always be the Dalai Lama."
The recent protests in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, led by monks, began peacefully March 10 on the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule.
But they grew increasingly violent, culminating Friday with widespread street violence. Chinese officials say 16 people were killed, but the Tibetan government-in-exile put the toll at 80.
The deadline has passed for protestors to voluntarily turn themselves in to police. Not too many people took up the gracious offer of hospitality by the Chinese government and word is out that hundreds of people are being arrested.