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China Arrests 59 Persons in Tibet for “Rumour Spreading”

Reuters is reporting this evening:

Chinese authorities in the restive mountainous region of Tibet have arrested 59 people for spreading rumours and trying to stir up racial hatred and incite violence, state media reported.The 59 were accused of acting under the influence of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and of downloading “reactionary” songs for distribution within Tibet, the semi-official China News Service said in an overnight report.

Tibet was rocked by anti-Chinese protests in March, which China blamed on the Dalai Lama, whom it brands a separatist. He has repeatedly denied the claims.

“After the violent incident in March, some people with ulterior motives under the scheming and encouragement of the Dalai splitist clique intentionally spread rumours and incited ethic feelings, threatening national and personal security,” the report said.

Police also swept through markets in Lhasa looking for people selling songs illegally downloaded from the Internet, the report added.

These people hoped to “spark violence, interfere with and damage Lhasa’s political stability.”

Chinese troops marched into Tibet in 1950 and the Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Beijing’s rule.

Rights groups say hundreds remain in jail following the protests where they are subjected to harsh treatment and even torture.

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Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.