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Terrorism & Security

Violence in Tibet strains China's relations with India, Nepal

Tibetans have protested in both countries, which have long accepted Tibetan refugees but restricted their political activities.

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Authorities in Tibet have arrested 24 suspects for "grave crimes" after troops cracked down on the riots, Reuters reports. Fallout from the turmoil is clouding diplomacy and Olympic preparations. The prosecutor's office in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa said the suspects face charges of "endangering national security as well as beating, smashing, looting, arson, and other grave crimes" in riots last Friday.

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The Tibet protests are also forcing India into a difficult diplomatic position, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The crisis in Tibet has forced New Delhi into a difficult diplomatic balancing act that pits its improving ties with Beijing against its longstanding relationship with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who has made India his base of operations for more than half a century.

The presence of both the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala has been a source of friction between China and India since the 1950s. India's response has been to provide sanctuary to what Beijing calls the "Dalai clique," but demands Tibetans refrain from anti-Chinese activities in India. The world's two most populous countries have been trying to improve relations after decades of mistrust resulting from a 1962 border war.

Indian police arrested around 80 Tibetans protesting at the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi on March 14, reports the news portal Phayul.com. Another 100 Tibetans were detained after planning to march from Dharamsala to Tibet.

The Dalai Lama has called on his young followers to refrain from upsetting India, the International Herald Tribune (IHT) reports. The Dalai Lama has advocated special autonomous status for Tibet rather than independence from China. Some of the younger exile groups have advocated independence, openly deviating from the Dalai Lama's "middle way." The schism in the Tibet community, the IHT reports, reflects its awkward position as a guest in India.

The Dalai Lama has polarized Chinese and Western views of the Tibet crisis, reports The Christian Science Monitor. Top Chinese official Zhang Qingli has described Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, as a "wolf wrapped in monk's robes, a devil with a human face and a beast's heart."

The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his advocacy of nonviolent resistance to Chinese rule in Tibet.

China said on Thursday that antigovernment riots had spread to other provinces since sweeping through Tibet, the Associated Press reports. Armed police and troops poured into distant towns and villages in Tibetan areas of adjacent provinces, with demonstrations continuing to flare. China has also ignored calls for dialogue with the Dalai Lama, with its Foreign Ministry saying it was "seriously concerned" about a planned meeting between British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Dalai Lama. The Foreign Ministry called on Mr. Brown not to offer support to Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader.

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