Dalai Lama Urges Restraint in Tibet Monastery Crisis

Recent standoff between Chinese military forces and Tibetan monks in Ngaba County in Sichuan has been escalating over the past month. The Dalai Lama has now spoken out, hoping  Tibetan protesters will show greater restraint and warning of “catastrophic consequences” if clashes continue. From AFP: “I urge both the monks and the lay Tibetans of the area not to do anything that might be used as a pretext by the local authorities to massively crack down on them,” the exiled spiritual leader said in a statement posted on his website Saturday. Clashes erupted at the Kirti monastery in China’s southwest Sichuan province after a monk set himself on fire and died last month, according to the International Campaign for Tibet, a New York-based rights group. Police unleashed trained dogs on residents outside the monastery and beat people when they tried to prevent forces from entering the compound on Tuesday, the rights group said in a Wednesday statement. “I am very concerned that this situation, if allowed to go on, may become explosive with catastrophic consequences,” the Dalai Lama said. He also called on the international community to persuade the Chinese leadership to exercise restraint. The statement said the monastery, housing 2,500 monks, was completely surrounded by Chinese armed forces, who at one point prevented vital food and other supplies from entering the compound. Witnesses report that the 2500 monks at Kirti monastery have been surrounded by the Chinese military and are facing food shortages. From the Tibet Post: According to latest confirmed information, Chinese security forces have cordoned the monastery and additional contingents of armed security forces (estimated to be around 800) have been brought in on 9 April 2011 to reinforce security clampdown in Ngaba County. The movement of the monks is totally restricted with no one being allowed ...
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