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World Briefing / China

Beijing celebrates while Tibetans mourn

March 29, 2009|Times Wire Reports

China marked 50 years of direct control over Tibet, observing a new political holiday honoring what it calls the liberation of slaves from brutal feudal rule.

Testimonials about the misery of life in old Tibet kicked off the short ceremony -- televised live from in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa -- recognizing the end of the Dalai Lama's rule in Tibet.

The Tibetan government-in-exile said on its website that the new holiday, called Serfs Liberation Day, would be a day of mourning. "Tibetans consider this observance offensive and provocative," it said.

Hundreds of Tibetans in the northern Indian city of Dharamsala -- the headquarters of the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile -- and in the Nepalese capital of Katmandu held street protests against Beijing's rule.

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