China Cracks Down; Dalai Lama Threatens to Resign

Hundreds of Tibetans detained after riots
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2008 6:17 AM CDT
Protesters demanding an end to repression in Tibet gather at the gate outside the Chinese consulate in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, March 18, 2008.   (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
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(Newser) – Chinese paramilitary police in Lhasa have arrested almost 1,000 Tibetans over the past 48 hours as the fallout continues from last week's anti-Chinese riots, reports the London Times. "Many people have been taken away, but we don’t know how many," said one eyewitness. The crackdown comes as the Dalai Lama warned he would resign as leader of the Tibetans if the violence continued.

Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, accused the Dalai Lama of orchestrating the riots, which left several dozen dead. While the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism denied the government's accusations, he said that "if things become out of control then my only option is to completely resign." The Dalai Lama has long insisted on peaceful protests to obtain Tibetan autonomy within China, and he called on Tibetans and ethnic Chinese to renounce violence.