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China Says Explosives, Weapons Found in Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries


Chinese authorities say they have found stashes of weapons and explosives at 11 Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the country's northwestern province of Gansu.

Gansu province's Gannan Tibetan region was the site of one of many anti-government protests that sprung up last month in the wake of China's crackdown on unrest in Tibet.

China's official Xinhua news agency says Wednesday police found bullets, guns, dynamite and satellite receivers during searches of the monasteries in Jone and Xiahe counties, and Hezuo City.

Over 100 monks are being held in Gannan for their alleged involvement in violence there that Xinhua says injured 94 people and caused some $32 million in damages.

News of the arrests comes on the same day that China announced its plans to build a new airport in Gannan.

A Xinhua report said the $100 million airport would be completed by 2010.

The Chinese government argues that its rule over Tibet and other Tibetan areas in the country has brought much needed development and commerce to those regions. Critics say government policies are wiping out Tibetan culture and promoting the migration of Han Chinese to the country's remote regions.

Chinese authorities have arrested more than 2,000 people, including 519 monks in connection with their involvement in riots in northwestern China last month, but most have been released.

Tibet's government-in-exile says that more than 150 people have died in the Chinese crackdown on monk-led protests. China blames rioters for the deaths of at least 20 people.

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

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