Security Forces Patrol Tibetan Town in NW China

Reuters reports on the military presence in Tibet ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s exile:

March will mark the 50th anniversary of the exile of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s highest religious leader, and the one-year anniversary of protests against Chinese rule in Lhasa and in Tibetan communities across the plateau.

Riot marched through Xiahe’s tense main street at regular intervals on Saturday morning, while vehicles were stopped and checked at military road blocks about 200 km (120 miles) from Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province.

“Last year, because of the Olympics, people were confident China could not be too harsh with us. But this year, nothing much will happen because people are much more afraid,” a monk told Reuters.

Relations between Tibet and China have historically been tense, with the most recent major flare-up occuring in March 2008, on the 49th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s exile.

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