06/24/2008, 00.00
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"Illegal immigration" accusations against marchers to Tibet

by Nirmala Carvalho
Tibetan dissidents denounce to AsiaNews: serious and baseless accusations against those marching toward Tibet. Release of 31 activists awaited, while another ten risk stiff sentences.

Reckongpeo (AsiaNews) - The Indian police have decided to release 31 Tibetan activists who were marching toward their homeland, "but the 10 marchers who were caught by the Indian police for attempting to sneak into the area have been charged on two counts by the courts.  One is for entering with area without valid permits, and secondly for not possessing the registration certificate under the foreigners registration act. They risk serious penalties".

This is the denunciation issued to AsiaNews by Tsering Choedup, Asia coordinator of the Tibet Support Network, an international organisation seeking the independence of Tibet from China.  According to the activist, "I have spoken with the marchers and they are very positive and want to continue on their journey back to our homeland Tibet. The arrests and accusations will be dropped".  For Choedup, moreover, "the Chinese are trying to showcase their power to the international community.  By taking the torch through Tibet they are claiming to legitimise their claim on Tibet.  Their intentions are clear, and we want no part in this game".

Urgen Tenzin, director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Development, recounts: "The whole of Lhasa was flooded with paramilitary forces, more than the already positioned battalion.  The Tibetans could not move out of their homes without legal permission. And the 26 media  outlets covering the Olympic relay were escorted by Chinese agents".

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See also
Tibetan Olympic torch, sign of freedom and justice
Hundreds of arrests among Tibetans in Nepal, but the Chinese are preparing counter-demonstrations
An armed escort for the Olympic torch, symbol of peace and fraternity
Tibet, thousands of police break up protest by monks
Mass arrests in "March of return"


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