China Says Tibet Protests Have Spread


CHRISTOPHER BODEEN
Associated Press
March 20, 2008

BEIJING (AP) – China acknowledged Thursday that anti-government riots have spread to other provinces since sweeping through Tibet last week, as communist authorities announced the first group of arrests for the violence.

In India, the Dalai Lama told reporters he was “always ready to meet” Chinese leaders, in particular President Hu Jintao, though he said he would not travel to Beijing to do so.

But China has ignored calls for dialogue, accusing the Dalai Lama’s supporters of organizing violence in Tibet in hopes of sabotaging this summer’s Beijing Olympics and promoting Tibetan independence.

The Foreign Ministry said it was “seriously concerned” about a planned meeting between British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Dalai Lama, urging Brown not to offer support to Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader.

Armed police and troops poured into far-flung towns and villages in Tibetan areas of adjacent provinces to reassert control as sporadic demonstrations continued to flare. Foreigners were barred from traveling there and tour groups were banned from Tibet, isolating a region about four times the size of France.

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