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Tibetan Refugees Arrive in India, Describe Chinese Attack


Forty one refugees have survived a three-week trek from Tibet to India, despite being attacked by Chinese troops near the Nepal border.

Human rights groups say 75 people originally attempted to escape across the Himalayan Mountains from Tibet to Nepal. The refugees told reporters in New Delhi Monday they do not know what happened to the 32 others, including at least nine children who were arrested by Chinese troops.

The refugees said Chinese troops attacked them September 30, killing at least one person. This incident, which was caught on videotape by a Romanian cameraman, prompted the United States to lodge a formal protest with China. The European Union has urged China to investigate the incident.

Chinese officials say troops shot in self-defense after the refugees attacked the soldiers. However, the International Campaign for Tibet organization says a videotape shows the Tibetans had their backs to the soldiers, were unarmed, and offered no resistance.

The video shows a distant line of figures walking through the snow on a high mountain pass when a gunshot is heard and one of them falls to the ground. Most of the figures in the video are too far from the camera to identify.

Mountain climbers and other witnesses say they saw Chinese forces shoot and kill at least one Tibetan on the pass.

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, later said Tibetans have been experiencing such cases for more than 50 years.

Hundreds of Tibetans cross the Himalayas from their Chinese-ruled territory to Nepal every year. Some try to make the trip to reach the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama lives.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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