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Chinese Troops Flown to Tibet; Temple Seized

October 06, 1987|From Times Wire Services

LHASA, Tibet — China flew security troops into Lhasa on Monday, occupied its holiest temple and blocked roads leading to Buddhist monasteries after monks led Tibetan independence protests that left at least 14 people dead.

Reporters saw hundreds of reinforcements arrive on special planes in Lhasa as authorities tightened security ahead of the 37th anniversary on Wednesday of the Chinese army entering Tibet.

Hundreds of heavily armed police patrolled the streets. Reporters saw 10 trucks, each carrying between 20 and 40 policemen armed with submachine guns, drive through Lhasa's center near the scene of last week's protests. Some had machine guns mounted on their cabs.

Witnesses said a convoy of about 30 vehicles drove through Lhasa early Sunday with several hundred prisoners, some of them monks.

A young monk at the Jokhang Temple said that more than 20 plainclothes policemen moved into the temple's upper rooms Sunday evening and that they brought in automatic weapons on Monday.

The temple is a warren of chambers housing religious shrines, and it towers over a square and narrow alleyways that were the scene of Thursday's fighting.

"The police have said they are also going to question us all later," the monk told reporters. "We are not afraid."

Police barricades have been erected on roads leading to Sera, Ganden and Drepung, Tibet's leading monasteries. Police turned back most vehicles.

In a report reaching Beijing early today, Western doctors traveling in Lhasa said that eight Tibetans were killed Thursday. In addition, Chinese officials had said six police officers were killed.

Unofficial estimates said that up to 50 Tibetans were injured. There was no official confirmation because many Tibetans apparently feared going to the hospital for treatment. The official news media said 19 police officers were injured.

The official Tibet Daily said China has set a deadline of Oct. 15 for "separatist elements" behind the riots to surrender or face severe punishment.

High-ranking monks in Lhasa appealed for world support on Monday.

"The Chinese have ruled violently in our country, and we want them to leave Tibet," said a two-page statement that the monks distributed to tourists. "We ask the U.N. and all the countries of the world to please support our true cause. We are suffering."

The statement added: "The Chinese have taken away Tibetan human rights for the last 30 years. We Tibetans have the Dalai Lama in our mind, and he's our leader forever."

The Dalai Lama was Tibet's civil and religious leader until China annexed the remote Himalayan region in 1950, enforcing a centuries-old territorial claim. He fled in 1959 after a failed uprising by his supporters and has since lived in India.

At the United Nations, a spokesman for Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar said the secretariat does not have any communication from the Tibetans.

In Lhasa, officials posted warnings to foreigners not to become involved in the demonstrations and broadcast the warnings by loudspeaker in the temple square in English and Chinese. Beijing has accused foreigners of encouraging the protests.

Chinese authorities appeared to be trying for the first time since the demonstrations to halt the movement of foreigners into Lhasa.

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