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China Denies Firing On Tibetan Refugees

China has denied reports that its border guards fired on a group of Tibetans trying to flee from Tibet to Nepal last month.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao, Thursday described the reported incident as "groundless" and "fabricated news."

The India-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy said this week that Chinese border police shot at a group of 46 Tibetans October 18, as they tried to cross the same icy pass (Nangpa) into Nepal where a nun was shot and killed by Chinese guards last year.

The organization said 35 members of the group made it to Nepal, but that the others were either arrested or are missing. The U.S.-based International Campaign for Tibet said the group of refugees included Buddhist monks, nuns and two children.

In September of 2006, Chinese border guards shot and killed a 17-year-old Buddhist nun trying to flee Tibet for Nepal. That incident was filmed by foreign climbers on Nepal's border with Tibet.

Up to 3,000 Tibetans make the tough and dangerous journey from Tibet to Nepal each year. Many then go to Dharamsala in northern India, where Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has set up a government in exile.

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