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Chinese Official in Tibet Calls for Swift Trial of Alleged Lhasa Rioters


China's top law and order official in Tibet has called on judges in the remote region to swiftly try and judge Tibetans accused of involvement in recent rare anti-government unrest.

According to a report Friday in the official Tibet Daily, Baima Chilin told judges in Tibet that they have the confidence of the Communist party and urged them to use evidence to reveal the truth about the unrest. He also told judges to use the weapon of the law to attack its enemies and punish those who have committed crimes to protect the public and maintain stability.

Baima Chilin's remarks come as another top official in Tibet has promised that more than 1,000 people, who were allegedly involved in the unrest, will face prosecution before May 1, the day that foreign tourists will be permitted to return to the Tibetan capital.

Chinese authorities in Tibet say 800 people have been arrested since the March 14 unrest, while another 280 people have turned themselves in to take advantage of a police offer of leniency.

Questions and accounts of how March's peaceful protests in Tibet turned violent vary widely.

Chinese authorities say about 20 people died in the Lhasa violence, and place all of the blame on Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Tibet's government in exile rejects that figure. It says some 140 people have died in the unrest in Tibet and other areas as the unrest spread.

The India-based Tibetan government in exile Thursday reported fresh protests in a Tibetan area of Sichuan province this week and details of other recent protests in Qinghai province.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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