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China Claims Wide Support for Tibetan Crackdown


Chinese state media have released updated figures for the numbers of those killed in last Friday's rioting in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.

The official Xinhua news agency Friday released a new total for those it called "innocents" killed during the violence, updating the number from 13 to 18. The report said one of the dead was a policeman and the others were civilians.

Xinhua reported separately that countries around the world have voiced support for China's handling of the Tibetan riots. Xinhua listed 15 countries that have made various statements reiterating their support for China on the issue. But there was no mention of the many countries that have been critical.

Earlier Friday, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with the Dalai Lama at his residence in India where she denounced China's crackdown and called for an international probe of the unrest.

China's ambassador in New Delhi, Zhang Yan, called Pelosi's comment "irresponsible" and said the Tibet issue is an internal matter.

China has intensified pressure on anti-government protesters in Tibet, releasing photos of hunted rioters and amassing troops in ethnic Tibetan areas of western China.

The India-based Tibetan government-in-exile Friday accused Chinese security forces in Lhasa of dressing up as monks to conduct surveillance.

Chinese state media have acknowledged that the protests that began last week in Lhasa have spread to the nearby provinces of Gansu and Sichuan.

Unconfirmed reports say that Tibetans have defied the military crackdown and engaged in fresh protests in parts of neighboring Qinghai province.

The official Xinhua news agency Thursday said police shot and wounded four rioters in a Tibetan area of Sichuan province earlier this week. It said police opened fire in self-defense.

But rights groups have released photographs showing what appear to be corpses with bullet wounds that the groups allege are some of the 15 Tibetans shot and killed by police during the incident.

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

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