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Tibetan Exiles Report More Than 100 Arrests in Fresh Protest in China


India-based Tibetan exile sources say more than 100 Tibetans have been arrested during a fresh protest in northwestern China. Chinese media did not immediately report the incident.

The Tibetan government in exile and the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy say they have received reports of Thursday's protest in Qinghai province from multiple sources.

The sources said 22 Buddhist monks demonstrated peacefully in Rebkong (Chinese: Tongren) County for the release of fellow monks, from a monastery Rong Gonchen arrested for an April 13 protest.

After police arrested the 22 monks, hundreds of monks and other Tibetans gathered to demand their release. Police reportedly arrested many of those protesters as well and surrounded the monks' monastery.

Also Thursday, China's official Xinhua news agency reported that the government is repairing the province's largest Tibetan monastery, Kumbum (Chinese: Ta'er Si). The report said the central government has provided more than $3.5 million for the work.

Chinese security officials say weapons and explosives were found at Tibetan monasteries in the neighboring provinces of Gansu and Sichuan.

But Tibetan exile groups say that firearms discovered were donated by Buddhists as a sign that they had given up hunting.

The Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet has released a translation of comments made by monks who disrupted an official media tour of Labrang monastery in Gansu province. The monks denied official claims that monks have been hiding weapons.

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.

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

Chinese authorities have arrested more than 2,000 people, including 519 monks in connection with their involvement in riots in northwestern China in March, 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.

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