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Chinese police 'search houses in Lhasa for non-Tibetans'
The Telegraph[Saturday, March 14, 2009 17:14]
Chinese police have visited every home in Lhasa to purge the city of foreigners, according to a new report.

By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai

Chinese paramilitary police patrol in a street near the Jokhang temple in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, China  (Photo: AP)
Chinese paramilitary police patrol in a street near the Jokhang temple in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, China (Photo: AP)
Security forces across Tibet are conducting extensive searches for "suspicious characters" ahead of Saturday's anniversary of wide spread riots last March.

Mobile phone networks and internet servers have already been shut down so that activists cannot organise any protest.

According to the South China Morning Post, which said it had a staff reporter currently in Lhasa, police have not spared "a single hotel, guesthouse or local home" in the city from checks.

As well as Westerners, residents from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan have been banned, and even Tibetans from other parts of the region outside Lhasa.

Anyone whose identification is not issued by the local government has been interrogated and even detained, according to local hotel and restaurant owners.

The newspaper also said that major monasteries had been sealed and that armed police are on patrol night and day. Roadblocks and checkpoints have also been set up across the city.

In Bakhor street, near the Jokhang monastery, one Tibetan told the newspaper that the police had been checking the rooftops. "They want to make sure there has been no hiding or stockpiling of stones, rocks, bricks and other offensive weapons," he said.

Locals also told the SCMP that a protest involving dozens of monks broke out on March 9 around the Sera Monastery, a day before the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising that led to the Dalai Lama's flight into exile. At least half the temple is now cordoned off and two military vehicles with up to 100 armed police were deployed outside.

Meanwhile, China has begun an extensive propaganda campaign about its positive influence in Tibet. Reports in People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, accused the Dalai Lama of using human skulls, blood and skin in religious ceremonies and said that three-quarters of Tibetans had been forced to "eat weeds" before the Chinese arrived.
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