Tibet govt-in-exile says about 130 confirmed dead in unrest
Tuesday, 25 March 2008

AFP, DHARAMSHALA- Around 130 people have been confirmed killed in a Chinese crackdown on protests and unrest in Tibet, the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile told AFP on Monday.

"This figure is from our sources in Tibet. The verifiable number is about 130 in entire Tibet," Samdhong Rinpoche said in Dharamshala in northern India, the base of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

The figure is a jump from the figure of 99 confirmed dead given by the government-in-exile last week.

China has released different figures.

On Saturday the Chinese state news agency Xinhua said Tibetan rioters killed 18 "innocent" civilians and one police officer during protests against Chinese rule in the Himalayan region's capital Lhasa.

Protests which began two weeks ago on the anniversary of a failed 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule erupted into deadly violence in Lhasa on March 14.

Riots then spread into other parts of China with significant ethnic Tibetan populations.

China has accused the Dalai Lama of orchestrating the violence ahead of the Olympic Games in August, an allegation the Buddhist leader denies.

The Dalai Lama has repeatedly said he opposes violence and that he is not promoting independence but wants greater autonomy for the region.

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