02/24/2009, 00.00
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Dharamshala, more than 500 Tibetans protest against Chinese repression

by Nirmala Carvalho
The demonstrators are calling for an end to the "killings," and are reiterating their intention to "not celebrate the Tibetan new year." Beijing continues its repression in the region in view of the 50th anniversary of the anti-Chinese revolt. Women's rights activists denounce forced abortion and discrimination.

Dharamshala (AsiaNews) - Today in Dharamshala, more than 500 Tibetan refugees in exile have demonstrated their solidarity with the population of Tibet, the victims of repression by the Chinese government. The demonstrators shouted slogans against "the killing of Tibetans," and confirmed their intention to "not celebrate Losar" (the Tibetan new year).

On the eve of the Tibetan new year - February 25 - and just days ahead of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the anti-Chinese revolt - on March 10 - Beijing has stepped up security measures in the region. In recent weeks, the police have forcibly repressed some demonstrations, arresting at least 24 Tibetans. The government is denying entry to tourists and journalists, and is vowing to "crush" any show of solidarity with the Dalai Lama.

Tenzin Choeying, director of the movement Students for a Free Tibet, says that the demonstrators who gathered in Dharamshala are wearing "black clothes as a sign of mourning," and carrying banners reading "Stop Killing Tibetans" and "No Losar." They demonstrate a widely shared sentiment of "condolence for our brothers and sisters who have been killed in Tibet." The leader of the Tibetan students denounces "the invasion by thousands of troops of the Chinese army" to occupy the villages: "This is intimidation against the population of Tibet, to keep it from conducting protests or other acts of resistance."

The chorus of protests against the repression imposed by Beijing is being echoed by charges from a Tibetan women's movement. B. Tsering, president of the Tibetan Women's Association, says that "the condition of women is even worse that of the men." They suffer a "twofold discrimination, of race and sex." The women "who work in government centers or in the cities must submit to the one child policy," and those who become pregnant a second time "are forced to abort." "The Chinese government has initiated this policy," the activist charges, "in order to control the Tibetan minority."

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