12/02/2005, 00.00
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Tibet, arrested five monks who refused to denounce the Dalai Lama

Two days after the arrests more than 400 monks held a peaceful solidarity protest at the monastery.

New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Chinese authorities have arrested five Tibetan monks who refused to denounce their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and recognise Tibet as part of China, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reports.

The five were expelled from Drepung Monastery in Lhasa and handed over to the Public Security Bureau on November 23, during a session of a "patriotic education" campaign underway at the monastery since early October.

Two days after the arrests more than 400 monks held a peaceful solidarity protest at the monastery, but soldiers and police put down the protest and "resisting monks received severe beatings". Since November 25, "nobody has been allowed to either enter or leave the premises.... The officers maintain strict vigilance of the monastery."

The centre, based in the Himalayan foothills at Dharamsala where the Dalai Lama lives in exile, urged the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture visiting Tibet.

China sees its occupation of Tibet since 1950 as a liberation of the region that has saved the Tibetan people from feudal oppression. Beijing formally established a Tibetan Autonomous Region in 1965, but the Dalai Lama says there is no real autonomy.

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