China seeks "absolute security" in Tibet for Olympics
Reuters[Wednesday, July 30, 2008 14:37]
By Chris Buckley

BEIJING - Chinese police guarding restive Tibet have been mobilized to ensure "absolute security" there during the Beijing Olympics and are looking for stronger international support, an official newspaper said on Wednesday.

China says followers of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, fomented riots and protests across the mountain region in March in a bid to derail the Games that start Aug 8.

The Dalai Lama has rejected the accusation, but since that unrest security forces in Tibet and neighboring provinces have mounted a sweeping crackdown on challenges to Chinese control.

The Tibet Daily announced even tougher policing during the Games, when any shows of defiance by pro-Tibet independence groups could embarrass the government before a worldwide audience.

In an effort to ensure "absolute security without a single lapse", police will redouble guards at major buildings, strengthen border controls and seek to expand international efforts to stifle anti-China activists, the report said. It appeared on an official Tibet Website (www.chinatibetnews.com).

"We must further improve anti-terror plans, and take swift measures against all forms of violence and terrorist activities," said the report, citing a meeting of the Tibet public security office on Sunday.

The report suggested Chinese police will be looking for stronger international help, possibly with countries near Tibet.

They will seek to "strengthen and improve forms of cooperation in international policing, and expand the region and scope of policing cooperation...resolutely smashing the separatist activities of the Dalai clique," the report said.

China has pressed India and Nepal, where many thousands of exiled Tibetans live, to do more against pro-Tibet independence groups in their countries.

Chinese officials have said "terror" groups demanding independence for Tibet and for Muslim Uighur people of far west Xinjiang are key security threats in the Games.

Thousands of additional People's Armed Police, the country's force for quelling domestic threats, have been deployed around Beijing. And their official newspaper issued a fiery warning of threats facing the Games.

The People's Armed Police News said "hostile forces" and terrorists had visited Beijing many times to choose targets. It gave no details.

"Without exception they are sharpening their blades and itching to act," the paper said of Uighur, Tibetan and other targeted groups.

"Hostile forces and terrorists are seeking to create an international impact, and they will certainly stretch their black hands toward Olympic venues and major targets."

Tibetan and Uighur activists and human rights groups have said Beijing exaggerates threats to justify repressing peaceful protest and has not allowed impartial checks.

"We're concerned that the lack of independent access to areas like Tibet and Xinjiang may make it more convenient for the government to hype an alleged terrorist or security threat," said Phelim Kine, an Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch.

But even small, non-violent protests by Tibetans could upset the Chinese government, which has choreographed the Games as a show of patriotic unity.

Police in Tibet have had holidays cancelled until the Games end, the report said.

Xinjiang, too, is under unusually strict security. The 4,299 public buses in the regional capital Urumqi would carry "security inspectors" up to and during the Games, the Legal Daily reported.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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