Reports say Tibetans protest in southwest China

AP News
Posted: Oct 02, 2011 4:03 AM
Reports say Tibetans protest in southwest China

Angry Tibetans protested in a tense area of southwestern China on the country's National Day after a Tibetan flag and a photo of the Dalai Lama were torn down, a news report said Sunday.

The protest took place Saturday in Seda, a county seat in eastern Sichuan province, after the flag and photo were taken down and thrown into the street, U.S.-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia reported.

Saturday was the 62nd anniversary of when the Communist Party took control of China.

A notice on a website of the Tibetan government in exile, which is based in Dharmsala, India, said more than 200 Tibetans, including monks, protested. It said it had no further details.

Seda was the scene of widespread protests after deadly riots rocked the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in March 2008.

Ethnic Tibetan areas of Sichuan have been tense recently. Late last month, two Tibetan monks set themselves on fire at the Kirti monastery to protest China's tight rein over Buddhist practices in another area of the province. They were rescued by police with slight burns.

Phone calls to government, police and party offices in Seda all rang unanswered Sunday, which was a holiday as part of National Day celebrations.

Several residents reached by telephone in the area said that they had not heard of any protest, and that the streets were calm Sunday.

Radio Free Asia said the protesters also called for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

The 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate has lived in Dharmsala since fleeing Tibet. China says Tibet has always been part of its territory, but many Tibetans say the region was virtually independent for centuries.