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Hundreds Tibetans expelled from Lhasa: Human Rights Watch

2012/06/20 23:12:30

Taipei, June 20 (CNA) The New York-based Human Rights Watch said Wednesday hundreds of Tibetans in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, were arbitrarily expelled from the city by local authorities, a move aimed at enhancing security.

The move appears to be taken in response to an incident on May 27 this year, in which two Tibetan protesters from eastern Tibet set themselves on fire in front of Lhasa's famous Jokhang temple, according to a report published by Human Rights Watch that day.

Since the incident, security forces in Lhasa have been carrying out frequent and enhanced identity checks on the streets, it said.

Some in eastern Tibet have been ordered to leave not only the capital, but the entire Tibet Autonomous Region, according to the report.

Those expelled are not known to have been accused of any wrongdoing and there are no reports to date of non-Tibetans being expelled.

The move was unprecedented because it extended to Tibetans who have valid business permits to live and work in Lhasa and who have been running businesses there for years, the report said.

"This arbitrary expulsion of people because of their ethnicity or place of birth is clearly discriminatory and violates their basic rights to freedom of movement and residence," said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.

"Lhasa authorities should explain these extreme measures and be aware that additional arbitrary restrictions are likely to deepen tensions," she said.

"Authorities in Beijing must understand that the solution to problems in Tibet does not involve more troops and discriminatory restrictions," said Richardson. "It can only be found in respecting Tibetans' rights."

To date, China's oppressive ruling in Tibet have resulted in at least 44 Tibetans conducting self-immolation. Among them, 32 died, reported the Oslo-based radio station Voice of Tibet.

(By Kang Shih-jen and Ann Chen)
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