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The Tibet riots will not be repeated

A SENIOR Tibet official said in Beijing yesterday that the violent riots, which resulted in the death of at least 18 civilians in Lhasa last March, would not be repeated.

"Although the riots have caused tremendous damage to the social and economic development and people's life in Tibet, it did not change the fundamentals of the steady development in Tibet," said Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region government, at the ongoing legislature session. "The overall situation in Tibet is stable."

Qiangba Puncog said he could not rule out the possibility that some individuals might make reckless moves next week but he believed that "riots like those in last March won't happen again."

His view was echoed by Chubakang Tubdain Kaizhub, a living Buddha and Chairman of the Tibet Branch of the Buddhist Association of China.

There will be "no problems" of stability in Tibet this year as "a small group of secessionists who attempt to make troubles have lost social support," said Chubakang Tubdain Kaizhub, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, the country's top political advisory body, which is also holding its annual session in Beijing.

"A handful of separatists can by no means win the people's heart and their disturbance would only result in the collapse of the social foundation for their existence."

Qiangba Puncog said necessary measures will be taken in Lhasa on March 28, when celebrations will be held to mark the democratic reform that emancipated millions of serfs 50 years ago.

But no extraordinary measures such as martial law will be enforced, he said.

The regional legislature in January endorsed a bill to set March 28 as Serfs Emancipation Day for annual observation in the region. Celebrations will be held in Lhasa and Beijing to mark the occasion this month.

Legqog, director of the Standing Committee of the Tibetan autonomous regional people's congress, said the approval of Serfs Emancipation Day is an important move to wage a "tit-for-tat struggle" against the Dalai Lama group.

"We will, for a long period of time, face austere test in maintaining unification of the motherland, fighting ethnic splittism, and maintaining social stability," said Legqog.

"Since the Dalai Lama and his supporters failed in an armed rebellion and fled abroad 50 years ago, they have been dreaming of restoring the reactionary, dark, barbarian and backward feudal serfdom in Tibet, and they have never stopped activities to split the motherland and undermine ethnic unity," he said.

In 1959 the central government foiled an armed rebellion staged by the Dalai Lama and his supporters.

"The younger generation in Tibet may know little about this history," Legqog said, adding the Serfs Emancipation Day would help "remind the younger generation of the bitter past so that they would cherish today's development, changes and new life."

Despite efforts to maintain stability in Tibet, officials said there are still disturbance and sabotage from the Dalai Lama group that hinder Tibet's development.


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