China to Monks: Get Out of Quake Zone
Beijing declares today day of mourning for Qinghai quake victims
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2010 6:12 AM CDT
Rescue workers watch as Tibetan monks help to search for survivors on top of a collapsed building in Qinghai province.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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(Newser) – Thousands of Tibetan monks who rushed to assist earthquake relief efforts in China's Qinghai province are getting the boot. The monks have played a vital role in the aftermath of the last week's earthquake in the predominately Tibetan region and beat the military to some areas. Chinese officials, however, say "overseas hostile forces" are attempting to sabotage the relief efforts.

Many Tibetans in the region "trust the monks more than the rescuers sent by the government," one Tibetan activist tells the South China Morning Post. "There are more people lining up at relief delivery spots set up by the monks than those set up" by soldiers. China—which has ignored a request from the Dalai Lama to visit the stricken region—declared today a national day of mourning for the quake's estimated 2,000 victims.