03/10/2009, 00.00
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Demonstrations around the world to mark Tibet’s uprising

Prayers are held in Japan. Rallies take place in Australia. In London and Washington former Tibetan torture victims and prisoners take to the street. In Nepal police arrests demonstrators. Tibetan leader says his country has become a war zone, with unlawful mass arrest and torture.
Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Exiled Tibetans and human rights activists rallied today from Canberra to London, from India to America, from Tokyo to Kathmandu, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Tibet’s uprising against China’s occupation, drowned in blood.

In Nepal hundreds of Tibetans joined a mass prayer at Samten Ling monastery in Boudha, east of Kathmandu.

Following the service some participants shouted slogans in favour of Tibetan independence, but were quickly confronted by police despite the peaceful nature of their action. Clashes and arrests soon followed.

China’s Xinhua news agency reported the event, but was silent about other rallies around the world.

In Hiroshima (Japan) Buddhist monks held a candle vigil Monday evening and a prayer meeting early Tuesday.

Prayers were also held in Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo and other Japanese cities.

Last Saturday several hundred people had already taken part in a pro-Tibet rally in Tokyo.

In Canberra about 300 demonstrators rallied in front of Australia’s Parliament House with Tibetan flags and banners calling for Tibetan independence.

Police clashed with protesters outside the Chinese Embassy in the Australian capital. One man threw shoes at the building. Four people were arrested.

In Dharamsala (India), seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, several rallies and vigils were held.

On Saturday more than 1,000 people gathered in London, holding banners with slogans like ‘Stop the torture in Tibet’ and ‘China stole my land; my voice; my freedom’. Tibetan monk Palden Gyatso, who was imprisoned by the Chinese for 33 years, was also there (pictured).

In Washington hundreds of Tibetans and their supporters walked by the White House, shouting anti-Chinese slogans, including Ngawang Sandrol, a young Buddhist nun arrested in 1992 at the age of 13 for shouting “Long live the Dalai Lama!”

During her imprisonment she was subjected to electric shocks and was only released in 2002 as a result of international pressure.

Urgen Tenzin, director of Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), told AsiaNews that the “Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is a war zone. A monstrous number of armed security personnel are restricting Tibetans’ movements, specifically around the monasteries in order to prevent monks and nuns from leaving.”

“Lhasa has been turned into a military camp,” he added.

“We got wind from a reliable source that Kunchok Tsephel, who runs a Tibetan language and culture website, was arrested at his home in Gannan (Gansu).

“We are very concerned because Chinese repression has reached new lows. Arrests have become unrestrained whilst freedom of expression is violated and torture is used in a systematic and inhuman way.”

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