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Tibet Dissidents Are Rounded Up : Martial-Law Crackdown Follows Pro-Independence Riots

March 09, 1989|DAVID HOLLEY | Times Staff Writer

China offered last year to hold talks with the Dalai Lama if he first dropped demands for Tibetan independence. The Dalai Lama accepted the offer but wants the agenda to discuss "a self-governing democratic entity" in Tibet that would leave only defense and foreign affairs in Beijing's hands. China views this proposal as a disguised form of independence. Although contacts between the two sides continue, there has been no visible progress toward opening formal talks.

The exiled leader's statement expressed fear that with martial law in place, China may "resort to more repressive methods."

"The imposition of martial law reveals that the Chinese have lost control of the situation in Tibet," it added. "If, as the Chinese claim, only a handful of people are involved, we don't see any reason why they have to resort to such an extreme step."

A report from Lhasa on Wednesday by the New China News Agency used almost idyllic terms to describe the quick results of martial law. The agency said shopkeepers and Buddhist worshipers praised the return of order to the city.

A middle-aged Tibetan woman who came out to pray at the Jokhang Temple in central Lhasa was quoted as declaring: "Since martial law was declared, I have a strong sense of safety. I needn't worry any more that flying stones might hurt or kill me when I come here simply to pray."

Meanwhile, the only two Western correspondents known to be in Lhasa were detained at their hotel.

Reuters reported from Beijing that one of its correspondents, Guy Dinmore, and Jasper Becker of the Guardian newspaper, both British citizens who have been in Lhasa the last few days, had been interrogated by police. They were then returned to their hotel, informed that they were "under investigation" and ordered not to go outside, the British agency reported.

The New China News Agency reported early today that Dinmore and Becker were ordered to leave Tibet for breaking a regulation requiring Beijing-based correspondents to receive permission for reporting trips outside the national capital. The agency said that Dinmore was fined and Becker was given an oral warning.

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