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  Tuesday, July 16, 2019
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Chinese officials said on Wednesday that 105 people have surrendered
Chinese officials said on Wednesday that 105 people have surrendered to authorities following anti-Chinese riots in Tibet's capital, Lhasa.

The protests have been a focus of international scrutiny, with the Chinese government saying Tibetan rioters attacked and killed 13 "innocent Chinese" and Tibetan exiles with links to the protesters saying Chinese forces brutally cracked down on peaceful protests, killing over 100 civilians.

China has deployed a huge security force to control the uprising.

China's official news agency, Xinhua, said the province's law enforcement authorities had issued a deal to protesters on Saturday, a day after the violence broke out, "offering leniency to those who surrender themselves."

The agency quoted a 25-year-old rioter as saying he had got drunk and "blindly followed" protesters when they threatened to burn his house down.

China has banned foreign reporters from hotspots in the mountainous province, making it difficult to verify reports on the protests.

The unrest began on March 10 when Buddhist monks held a demonstration marking the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet, when Tibetans attempted to restore the Dalai Lama as their leader.

The Chinese government has called the current conflict a "life and death" struggle with supporters of the Dalai Lama, the 72-year-old Buddhist leader living in exile in northern India.

Communist Party Secretary Zhang Qingli branded him "a wolf in monk's robes, a devil with a human face but the heart of a beast."

The Dalai Lama, a charismatic figure respected in the West for his leadership on non-violence, denied that he had incited riots in Tibet and pledged to quit his political role as head of the Tibetan protest movement if the protests got out of control.

Tensions in Tibet, officially known as the Tibet Autonomous Region, have been simmering in recent years with China's policy of sending large numbers of Han Chinese migrants into the province to quell separatist sentiment. Many locals resent the influx, and complain that the Chinese invariably take the highest posts in the province.

The issue of Tibetan autonomy has long threatened to boil over into violent protests. Chinese troops first marched into the Himalayan kingdom in 1950, and the Dalai Lama was forced to flee to India in 1959, fearing arrest by Chinese authorities. He was accompanied by some 80,000 of his countrymen.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao accused the demonstrators in Tibet of seeking to wreck the upcoming Olympic Games, due to be held in Beijing this summer.

"They wanted to provoke the sabotage of the Olympic Games," he said at a news conference. "We should not politicize the Olympic Games."

The International Olympic Committee has said that no country has called for a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


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